Why wouldn’t I be included, for any inheritance or possessions my Step-Dad had when he passed away on Feb 18,2020?

My Step-Dad passed away, and he was still living with my Mom . They lived together for 40+ years. About their 35th year, the did a fast marriage thru a Magistrate judge, and afterwards, they divorced, mom and Dad both told me it was because of how much the Ins. Premium went up in cost, it’s tripled.
They were given advice to divorce, and go back to how they were doing things, and they did an continued as if nothing ever changed. Neither parent has a will. And My Dad’s sister was put in charge, and she literally took everything that was my dad’s, and then some..why wasn’t I entitled to anything or even his grandchildren, we were a very close nit family. We fully relied on one another, up until his death. Now his side of the family basically don’t talk to Us anymore. Every year we had cookouts, family reunions, b days, holidays together. Now we have nobody, even my mom is different acting. Treats me and the kids like we never mattered, a complete 360 degree change. I’m hoping somehow you can help me understand, or if I have possibly a case.

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

Generally, there are no inheritance rights for step children.  (In Florida, if there are no other living family members, step-children can inherit.) Obviously, your step-dad didn’t own things jointly with your mother or the assets would have transferred to her automatically on his death.  If the state doesn’t recognize common law marriages, your mother would not inherit from your step-father.
Your mother would have had to object to your father’s probate during the process. You can’t do it after the fact.  If the process is still ongoing, she may want to consult an attorney to see if she qualifies as a common law wife.  In New Hampshire, common law marriages are recognized during life, but can be claimed during a probate.

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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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