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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33935
Experience:  Estate Law Expert
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My question concerns the inheritance rights of a son when his

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My question concerns the inheritance rights of a son when his mother passes away. I am an adopted child by my natural grandmother after my grandfather died. My mother died without a will and I'm being told I have no inheritance rights concerning an oil and gas lease she inherited from her husband, my natural grandfather, when she died. How above some general advise? Thank you.

Dwayne B. :

Hello and thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am an expert here and I look forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

Dwayne B. :

Just to be clear on the facts. Your natural mother's parental rights were terminated and you were adopted by your maternal grandmother?

Customer:

Correct.

Dwayne B. :

And now your adopted mother (who is your maternal grandmother) has passed away?

Customer:

Yes.....

Dwayne B. :

You would then take a child's share of your grandmother's estate. Your share would be the same as any of her natural children.

Dwayne B. :

How she (your adopted mother) got the property doesn't make any difference.

Dwayne B. :

Your adopted mother died with no spouse still living correct?

Customer:

Ok However, that's not the opinion of a current practing WV attorney. According to him, she only had a "lifetime" claim and when she died without a will, her interest died with her. So, I get nothing.

Dwayne B. :

If she only had a life estate, that is a change in facts that makes a difference.

Customer:

Yes, she died without a spouse.

Customer:

What determines a "life estate"?

Dwayne B. :

If she only had a life estate in the oil and gas lease, who had the "remainder" interest in it?

Customer:

Before I was adopted, my grandfather died without a will also.

Dwayne B. :

When he passed away his spouse would have inherited everything. How did the life estate in the oil and gas lease get created?

Customer:

Well.....I had several aunts and uncles that became my legal brother and sister when to adoption took place. All are deceased. Now all of their children are getting royalties and I'm getting zero.

Customer:

brothers and sisters...

Customer:

I see nothing on all the leases dating from the late 1800s saying a word about life interest.

Dwayne B. :

I don't think there is one based on what you have stated and therefore you would be entitled to an interest. The only way someone has a "lifetime claim" is it is specifically set out in some document.

Dwayne B. :

Was your grandfather ever married before? Did he have any children from any other woman?

Customer:

Could it somther about the inheritance laws or procedures that were in place in 1959 when he passed away?

Customer:

No other family except this one.

Customer:

be something...

Dwayne B. :

I wouldn't think so. I don't have access to laws from 1959 but probate laws don't change much over the years and particularly not as it relates to these topics.

Dwayne B. :

Nothing you have told me indicates your adopted mother only had a "lifetime interest".

Customer:

Ok. I must admit that I've learned a hard lesson. In my area of WV, the attornies are not interested in representing an individual. They want to deal with companies only. Thank you and I'll give you a good rating.

Dwayne B. :

You're welcome and best wishes to you on this!

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