My dad died several years ago and at the time he lived in Florida and had no will. My step mom took care of everything from their home in Florida and sent me about $5000 cash as his only surviving daughter. I was recently informed that my dad's parents left equal shares of a parcel of Ohio farm land to each of their kids. This property was willed to my dad prior to his death. Someone is interested in buying this land, so the kids are now trying to get the deed straightened out on this farm land. My question is: As his only surviving daughter, do I now have rights to my dads portion of this property or does it just go to my former step mom?
State/Country relating to question: Ohio
I've only spoken to a couple of my Aunts at this point. We are not sure where to start in order to resolve this issue.
Because your father died without a will, your stepmother is entitled to 50% of the land and you, as his only surviving heir, are entitled to the other 50%. This is actually going to be a complicated process -- because whomever has taken care of your grandparents estate must get the deed put into your father's name of his portion of this land, and then your stepmother has to handle the fact that the land is now in your father's name and take it into the probate court in Florida to have the land transferred over to her and your name in a deed. Because your father has already passed away, if the deed to the land has not yet been changed from your grandparents names to your father's name, then the administrators of your grandparents estate can go into probate court in Ohio with the death certificate of your Dad and then the probate court in Ohio will issue an order to title the piece of property in the names of your father's heirs (you and your stepmother). My suggestion is to start in Ohio and determine whose name the deed is in right now. If it is in your Dad's name, then the matter must go to probate court in FL to turn this property over to you and your stepmother (because your Dad lived and died in FL). If the deed is still in your grandparents name, then all of this can be done in the probate and family court in Ohio by your grandparents estate administrators.
I hope that helps.
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Is it an Ohio specific real estate law that states my stepmom is entitled to 50% and surviving children the other 50%? I ask because there was another piece of land owned by me dad and my stepmom said that per her attorney I had no rights to the property, so she either sold or leased the entire property as a right-of-way to a chemical company and they paid her for that.
Florida laws of intestacy (when someone dies without a will) provide that "If the decedent (your Dad) leaves a surviving spouse (your stepmom) and one or more descendants (YOU), one or more of whom are not descendants of both spouses (YOU), then the spouse is entitled to one-half of the residue and the descendants are entitled to the other half." Florida law applies to your father and your father's estate because that is where he lived before he died and that is the court that has jurisdiction over the matter. SO, distributing / splitting your father's portion of the Ohio property is governed by Florida law because that is where he was living when he inherited this property.
The laws of intestacy are very similar throughout the 50 states -- some states provide that the wife gets 2/3 and the surviving child or children get 1/3 and some states split the estate 50/50 (as Florida does) but this is the Florida law and has been the Florida law for many decades and if your stepmother sold a piece of property that was your father's property then you should have received one half of the profits from that sale after all of the expenses of the sale were paid. My suggestion is that you speak to a family / estate lawyer in Florida about these issues -- and I don't know what your relationship is with your stepmother -- but you might be able to play this card and get all or most of the proceeds of the sale of the Ohio property given to you because you should have received some money from the sale of the prior property and you did not get anything.
Please let me know if you have further questions.
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The exact Florida statute on intestate succession is FL Statutes 732.102 (3) AND 732.103 (1) -- and they state, exactly:
" 732.102 Spouse's share of intestate estate.-The intestate share of the surviving spouse is: (1) not applicable to you (2) not applicable to you; (3) If there are one or more surviving descendants of the decedent who are not lineal descendants of the surviving spouse, one-half of the intestate estate.
732.103 Share of other heirs.—The part of the intestate estate not passing to the surviving spouse under s.732.102, or the entire intestate estate if there is no surviving spouse, descends as follows:
Here is a link to it if you need it to reference when speaking to a lawyer or your stepmother's lawyer about all of this:
Link to 732.102: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0732/Sections/0732.102.htmlrr
Link to 732.103: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0732/Sections/0732.103.html
Now, your stepmother's lawyer might try to tell you that FL law is changing as of 10/1/11 -- and he is right -- however, the above provision is NOT changing and will not change AND because your father died before 10/1/11 any change in this law would have no affect on your father's case / estate.
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13 years experience in RE Law, including LL/Tenant, contractor disputes, comm'l prop. issues
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