What are my rights to my half-sister’s estate?

UPDATED: Dec 29, 2010

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What are my rights to my half-sister’s estate?

She passed away on 12/19/10. She owned property and may have made a Will. She lived in VA.

Asked on December 29, 2010 under Estate Planning, Virginia


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your half-sister.

If she left a Will, the Will is controlling and determines who receives the estate.

If there wasn't any Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will.  If your half-sister had a surviving spouse, the estate goes to the surviving spouse.  If there wasn't any surviving spouse, but if she had surviving children, the estate would be divided among the surviving children.  If a child predeceased your half-sister, but there were grandchildren, the grandchildren  (children of the predeceased child) would divide that share of the estate.  If your half-sister had no surviving spouse and no surviving children, the estate would go to her parents.  If there are no surviving parents, the estate would go to you.  If there are other brothers or sisters, your share and their shares would be divided equally.  For example, if there are three surviving sisters including yourself, each sister would receive 1/3.  There is no distinction whether the relationship is half or whole blood.

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