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Parents have different beneficiaries in wills.

My step mother passed away about 2 months ago and my father is very sick and sedated. They created their wills about 10 years ago and just notarized them shortly before her death. She had expressed wanting to change her beneficiary to my but at the time of her death, it was her sister (secondary to my dad of course). I’m an only child so I’m the sole beneficiary on my fathers will (secondary to my step mother). My question is about how this will work once my father passes. Will I be the sole beneficiary since my step mothers property passed to my dad when she died? Or will her sister have any involvement still? My dad and my step mother are both listed on the deed to the house and the title of 2 cars.

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

Wills control assets that need to go through probate. Any asset that is jointly owned will automatically be owned by the surviving owner.  Anything your step mother owned in her own name will pass to your father because he survived your step-mother as that is what is written in his will. Those assets are his to do with as he pleases. If you are the beneficiary of his will, then you will inherit.  It does concern me that they signed 10 year old drafts. It should probably be reviewed by an attorney to make sure the execution was valid.

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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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The estate administration attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provide legal services for probate, estate administration, and trust administration. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

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