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My daughter’s father passed away without a Will. He had a wife and my daughter is his only child. She received paperwork stating the wife will be his personal representative, which I know is common. The paperwork listed her as an heir and they are trying to get to his personal bank accounts. The wife was not listed on them. I know according to the law, my daughter is entitled to half of his accounts, but what about his personal property registered to only him? He had several vehicles that were paid for a Harley motorcycle, Corvette, Lexus, etc?
Asked on May 15, 2018 under Estate Planning, Georgia
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 4 years ago | Contributor
In the state you list (Georgia), under the rules for "intestate succession" (who inherits when there is no will), when there is a surviving spouse and children, the spouse and children share in the "estate" (the money and assets left behind) equally. While certain assets may be excluded from the estate due to how they were owned (certain things owed jointly in the proper way, or bank accounts owned "pay on death" or "transfer on death," pass directly to the other joint owner or named beneficiary outside of probate), to oversimplify, your daughter and her father's wife will (assuming there are no other children of his) share equally in everthing he owned (including cars, motorcycles, etc.). For certain assets (like cars) which you cannot effectively "share," this means that the asset should be sold and the proceeds (less cost of sale and paying off any liens, financing, etc.) divided among those inheriting. Based on what you write, it would seem to make sense to hire a probate attorney to look after your daughter's interests.