Estate Law

Estate law questions? Ask an estate lawyer.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

My mother passed away recently without a will and it appears…

Customer Question
My mother passed away recently...
My mother passed away recently without a will and it appears that all of her marital property and general contents of the home will fall under the rights of survivorship. I am her only biological child but there are two step children. The relationship between my stepfather and myself has always been rocky and I know how precarious the future can be. I fear that I will never receive a fair child portion now or in the event of his death. Is there anyway to contest the right of survivorship law and possibly put her marital half in my name to protect it from being sold without my knowledge with the condition that it will be split between myself and my two step siblings at the time of his death??
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Estate Law
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Answered in 6 minutes by:
2/25/2016
Estate Lawyer: Barrister, Attorney replied 2 years ago
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 43,072
Experience: 17 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
Verified

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply,but rest assured, I am working on your question.

.

Is there anyway to contest the right of survivorship law and possibly put her marital half in my name to protect it from being sold without my knowledge with the condition that it will be split between myself and my two step siblings at the time of his death??

.

Unfortunately, if mother held assets as joint tenants with right of survivorship with father in law, then they instantly pass as a matter of law upon mother's passing. So there is nothing to contest from a probate perspective because those assets don't go through probate. They transferred at the moment of death so there is no "marital half" at this point.

.

Only assets that were in mother's sole name, were her personal property, or were owned as "tenants in common" with someone would be in her estate now and would go through probate.

.

So no, there is no way to challenge this as it simply an established way that assets are transferred outside probate.

.

I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience,even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Is there a way to protect myself outside of probate??
Estate Lawyer: Barrister, Attorney replied 2 years ago

I am not sure what you mean "protect yourself"....from what?

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
My mother passed away at the age of 64. My step father is a few years younger than her. What can be done to protect my child's portion, at the valued amount of their estate right now, in the chance that he remarries or he creates a will before his death leaving his biological children more??
Estate Lawyer: Barrister, Attorney replied 2 years ago

What can be done to protect my child's portion, at the valued amount of their estate right now, in the chance that he remarries or he creates a will before his death leaving his biological children more??

.

I am sorry if I wasn't clear. If they owned everything jointly, then there is no "child's portion". The stepfather became the sole owner of everything that they jointly owned at the instant that mother passed.

.

That is why people take title to things as "joint tenants"....so the survivor instantly becomes sole owner and doesn't have to go through probate.

.

So anything that they owned jointly is now owned solely by stepfather and he can leave it to whoever he wants to in his will. He is under no legal obligation to leave it to anyone....his children, his stepchildren, etc. He can leave it all to charity or the church or pick out his favorite child and leave it all to them.

.

As for her personal property (jewelry, personal furniture, personal antiques, photos, etc.) those would be considered to be owned by her estate now and would need to go through probate unless the family can decide privately how to divide up those items so as to eliminate the need for a probate case.

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
When you look up the laws for SC it only mentions "intestate succession" for biological heirs, with no mention of rights of survivorship??? Please explain this further
Estate Lawyer: Barrister, Attorney replied 2 years ago

Right, intestate succession just means that someone died without a will, so state law controls who inherits. But your stepfather is not your legal father so you are not in his bloodline to inherit if he didn't have a will. So if he died with a will, the assets go to whoever he stated in the will. If he dies without a will, his biological family will inherit through intestate succession.

.

But when mother and stepfather owned everything jointly, when one of them passes, the survivor becomes the sole owner of those assets.

.

So if everything they owned was jointly owned, then when mother passed, stepfather then became sole owner of everything and you would only inherit if he names you in his will as a beneficiary.

.

If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided so I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

.

thanks

Barrister

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Was this answer helpful?

How JustAnswer works

step-image
Describe your issueThe assistant will guide you
step-image
Chat 1:1 with an estate lawyerLicensed Experts are available 24/7
step-image
100% satisfaction guaranteeGet all the answers you need
Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 43,072
43,072 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 17 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate

Barrister is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

My husband has been driving me insane with questions regarding estate issues since his mother died. I'm not a lawyer! Thanks to JustAnswer, I was able to calm his concerns.

Loretta TIllinois

Thanks Adam!! - A very direct and understandable response - you have been a great help!

Happy CustomerEllicott City, MD

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Thomas McJD

Thomas McJD

Attorney

3,170 satisfied customers

Wills, Trusts, Probate & other Estate Matters

Barrister

Barrister

Attorney

43,072 satisfied customers

17 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate

RayAnswers

RayAnswers

Attorney

5,629 satisfied customers

Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law

Infolawyer

Infolawyer

Attorney

5,145 satisfied customers

Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses.

Ely

Ely

Counselor at Law

1,867 satisfied customers

Fully licensed attorney in Texas in private practice.

RobertJDFL

RobertJDFL

Attorney

1,522 satisfied customers

Experienced in multiple areas of the law.

P. Simmons

P. Simmons

Attorney

1,215 satisfied customers

12+ yrs. of experience including estate law.

< Previous | Next >

Related Estate Law Questions
My father died leaving a wife and 5 adult biological
My father died leaving a wife and 5 adult biological children and one step child. Before everyone could be called to the table to discuss assets [less than a month} -- my stepmother died! Now there ar… read more
LegalGems
LegalGems
Juris Doctorate
12,814 satisfied customers
My biological father recently died as a resident in
My biological father recently died as a resident in Tennessee while battling bone cancer. He left a will naming his brother as Executor (a non-heir at the executor's request). My father left his entir… read more
Attyadvisor
Attyadvisor
Doctoral Degree
8,356 satisfied customers
My mother passed away in the state of Texas without a will.
My mother passed away in the state of Texas without a will. She had inherited mineral rights to land in Montana years ago and had forgotten about it, hence nothing was ever done with it. At my mother'… read more
LegalGems
LegalGems
Juris Doctorate
12,814 satisfied customers
Our stepfather who we only knew as our dad did not leave a
Our stepfather who we only knew as our dad did not leave a will. We have been in his life since we were children. Our mom died 10 years prior to his death. Our probate attorney states unless we can pr… read more
Attorney2020
Attorney2020
Lawyer
2,480 satisfied customers
My father died 7 years ago without a will and since my siblings
My father died 7 years ago without a will and since my siblings and I live out of state, we just assumed our stepmother inherited everything. After all this time, we were just recently notified that s… read more
Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett
Doctoral Degree
25,741 satisfied customers
A wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of my half brother.
A wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of my half brother. Named in the lawsuit was my brother aunt (stepfathers sister) whom was his legal guardian, our mom, his dad, his biological siblings (m… read more
lwpat
lwpat
Doctoral Degree
256 satisfied customers
My step father which I had for sixty two years has recently
My step father which I had for sixty two years has recently passed away. The problem is he remarried approximately 9 yrs ago. At the time of his marriage he had a will, and our relationship to this da… read more
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL
Attorney
Juris Doctorate
1,522 satisfied customers
When my mother passed away seven months ago in Virginia, she
When my mother passed away seven months ago in Virginia, she indicated in her will that her 2010 Toyota (along with other personal effects) should be distributed to me and my sister. Note that the tit… read more
lwpat
lwpat
Doctoral Degree
256 satisfied customers
My father died in 1948.I had one sibling. My mother purchased
My father died in 1948.I had one sibling. My mother purchased a home with insurance proceeds. She later married, sold the property and bought another home with that money with new spouse. They had two… read more
Dimitry Esquire
Dimitry Esquire
Attorney at Law
Doctoral Degree
113 satisfied customers
My father passed away with no will. The house was in my brothers
My father passed away with no will. The house was in my brother's name with my father and the bank account was in my name with my father. I have a step-brother whom my father gave $25,000 to prior to … read more
JaxLaw
JaxLaw
Associate Attorney
Doctoral Degree
1,722 satisfied customers
I have a question concerning property distribution for parents
I have a question concerning property distribution for parents in California that do not have a will. First part is that my step father has two children and my mom has 5 children (natural father is de… read more
Daniel P.
Daniel P.
Managing Attorney
Juris Doctor
2,741 satisfied customers
My mother and Step-Father were maried for 30 years before her
My mother and Step-Father were maried for 30 years before her death. During this time my step-father built a sizable estate that included a home which I believe to be paid off. 30 days after her death… read more
FiveStarLaw
FiveStarLaw
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
477 satisfied customers
My husband and siblings were adopted by the wife their biological
My husband and siblings were adopted by the wife their biological father remarried to in 1992. Biological father died 1997 and left property he purchased with wife with no will. Stepmother died 2004 a… read more
JaxLaw
JaxLaw
Associate Attorney
Doctoral Degree
1,722 satisfied customers
My mother passed Nov.2009, My stepfather passed 37 days later
My mother passed Nov.2009, My stepfather passed 37 days later in Dec. She had money in CDs and Money Market in her and my name. I am her only child. Someone has told me that my stepfather is entitled … read more
Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett
Doctoral Degree
25,741 satisfied customers
Can a survivorship deed be contested? My mother and stepfather
Can a survivorship deed be contested? My mother and stepfather had a survivorship deed. When she passed away he got everything. Does contents of the 2 homes they own go to him soley?… read more
Thomas McJD
Thomas McJD
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
3,170 satisfied customers
My mother past away last July, she has a will and my step father
My mother past away last July, she has a will and my step father is named executor. He has an attorney to help in the probate process. The will states she wants him to have her half of the house, and … read more
LawGuy
LawGuy
Juris Doctor
123 satisfied customers
My mother (from North Carolina) died last week and had no will.
My mother (from North Carolina) died last week and had no will. Decendants are her spouse (my stepfather), my brother, my sister, and myself. My siblings and I expect that our stepfather will try to k… read more
LawNinvest
LawNinvest
Attorney
Juris Doctorate
66 satisfied customers
Hi, Our step father died in October, 2008 in NYC. He left
Hi, Our step father died in October, 2008 in NYC. He left one biological daughter. One daughter is deceased. In the State of New York do Step Children (meaning he was not our biological father have ri… read more
Family Law Answers
Family Law Answers
Juris Doctorate
1,261 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x