Is someone dies without a Will, where should an inheritance rightfully should go?

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Is someone dies without a Will, where should an inheritance rightfully should go?

My father-in-law passed away 3 years ago without a Will, to our knowledge. My mother-in-law remarried, and she passed away about about 6 months ago. About 3 weeks ago, a lawyer called saying that an aunt died 2 years ago and left a decent sum of money to my father-in-law. Since he did not have a Will, they say it would have gone to his wife, who also did not have a Will. So they are giving it to her new husband. We feel the children deserve it, as the new husband has done a lot of time in prison for child molesting and embezzlement. We are filing to contest it but just wondering what are odds are?

Asked on October 2, 2011 under Estate Planning, Colorado

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  When a person dies with out a Will it is known as dying "intestate" and each state has a set of Intestacy laws that govern how the money would be distributed in this event.  Colorado is no different.   Now, was there an estate proceeding opened for your Father in Law or did everything pass automatically to your Mother in Law at his death? I am assuming so.  But was there any proceeding that was opened on behalf of the estate of your Mother in Law because her assets - if not jointly held - would not have automatically passed to him at the time of her death.  And this sum should be paid to her estate, and not to him directly.  That is my opinion here and you need to discuss this with the attorney who handles the matter for you.  Colorado's laws, as I understand them, favor the surviving spouse.  But you as the children are not entirely cut off.  With out knowing how much your Mother's estate was it is hard to gauge here.  Here is the portion of the intestacy law that I think applies to you:

"If one or more of the decedent's surviving descendants are not descendants of the decedent's surviving spouse, and all of such surviving descendants who are children of the decedent are adults, then the surviving spouse receives the first one hundred thousand dollars, plus one-half of any balance of the intestate estate;"

Get help.  Good luck.



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