I have a friend that had her husband pass away just under a year ago. He had no will set in place. They owned several pieces of property. One my friend is currently residing in, others are open lots with valuable classic vehicles and other misc items. Upon her husband’s passing his son has forcefully taking possession of properties, only allowing step mother to remain with home. He will not allow her to step foot on other properties. My question is who would have legal rights to all the estates?
ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS:
Who owns the property depends on how the property was owned during the husband’s life and if there was a pre-nup or a post-nup executed. If the property was owned jointly, it automatically passes to the wife, avoiding probate. If the husband owned all the property in his own name, with no will, then the property passes under the law of intestacy. In other words, the state has decided who gets what. The states vary on how much a surviving spouse inherits, especially if it is a second marriage. Until the property is probated, neither the wife nor the step-son have authority over the property. The probate needs to be opened immediately. If the family can’t agree upon who can serve as a personal representative, a neutral third party can be appointed by the probate court.
Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.
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