What are my legal rights to my deceased mother’s house and Will?

UPDATED: Jul 28, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Jul 28, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What are my legal rights to my deceased mother’s house and Will?

My mother died a few months ago but before she did she gave my sister the house. There is a small Will of $40,000. What are my rights and does it matter that we were estranged for a few years? My father is also deceased.

Asked on July 28, 2011 Connecticut


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the deed to the house was already in your sister's name prior to your mother's death, you have no claim to it. Your sister is (and has been) the legal owner. As for the $40,000 in your mother's estate, the terms of her Will control. If you are listed as a beneficiary then you will receive whatever has been "bequeathed" (i.e. gifted) to you. If you are not mentioned in the Will, then you receive nothing. The fact is that children have no automatic inheritance rights under a Will; a child can be disinherited by a parent.

If there was some form of "undue influence", fraud or the like you may be able to contest the Will. However the fact that you were estranged would seem to support a disinheritance (if this is in fact the case). However, these contest are difficult to win and quite costly. So it may not be worth you while to pursue.

Note:  If you are a beneficiary you will receive notice (it's the law). If you receive no notice then you are not a beneficiary. However once the Will is entered into probate (in the probate court of the county in which your mother was domiciled at her death), then you will be able to request a copy of it. At that point it becomes a matter of public record.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption