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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  16 yrs. of experience including family law.
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my mom died in Dec of 2012 without a will. step-dad said her

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my mom died in Dec of 2012 without a will. step-dad said her stuff--house, retirement, and a small plot of land is his now we have no right to it . He has also told us that he is getting remarried and selling the house. They were married for 13 years and my mother owned the home for 35 years--my parents bought the house and my mother stayed in it after they divorced after 25 years of marriage. I currently live in CO, but my mom's property is in WI--that is also where she lived/died.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

The key question (at least for the home) will be title...do you know how the home was titled? Joint tenancy with right of survivorship? Tenants in common?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I am assuming joint tenancy--I seem to remember they had to go through a process to get my dad off the title when they were taking out a home loan for a remodel project. I am sure that my mom and step dad were both on the mortgage after that. My mother has 3 children only my brother was a minor when they got married-we are all adults now and none of us have lived in the house for at least 5 years.

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Thank you

That is important, since that determines if the property must go through the probate process or not.

Under state law, when a person dies with no will, they are said to be "intestate"

That means that state law controls how their estate is divided.

Under WI law, if a person dies, and they are married and they have children not from the current marriage, then the law provides that the estate is split. Half to the widower, half to the children (to split equally)

But this only applies to the property that is subject to probate. That is why title is so important...if it was joint tenancy, with survivor rights? Then title passes outside of probate to the other title holder. You can contact the county recorders office to see what the title was prior to her passing to find out for certain


THe retirement accounts? Same can apply. Most financial accounts are set up as POD (pay on death)...if this is elected, then they pass outside of probate to the beneficiary listed with the bank

For the "stuff"? If it was stuff owned by both? This would be split 50/50.

SO if there is stuff owned by both, then you are an heir, and can go to the probate court (in the county where mom lived) to force division of the stuff (and any bank accounts that are still part of the estate)


Let me know if you have more questions...happy to assist if I can
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27118
Experience: 16 yrs. of experience including family law.
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