How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37003
Experience:  16 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
19958803
Type Your Estate Law Question Here...
Barrister is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My son's father died last Dec. without a will. His wife

Customer Question

my son's father died last Dec. without a will. His wife (son's stepmother) has started to sell off his some of his property - huge gun collection and other things. Stepmother advised my son after father's death that he owed so much money on credit cards that there was no estate. He owned several vehicles, gun collection, many collectable items and together they owed a small farm which she is still paying mortgage on. My son has one half sister by his father. What are his legal rights to any of his estate. Thank you.
JA: Since estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Virginia
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: I don't have any information on that
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Is there a time frame to settle his estate?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

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.

.

Did father have a will when he passed?

.

Has anyone filed a probate case to settle the estate?

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
No he did not have a will
Don't know if she has filed a probate
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Ok, if there was a will, then it controls what happens to the estate and who inherits. If there is no will, then VA default intestate law controls and says that the spouse inherits 1/3 and any children of the deceased split the other 2/3.

.

So if no one has filed a probate case, it would be a good idea for son to do so as he can then immediately take legal possession of any assets that father owned solely and prevent the stepmother from selling anything else off. He can also pursue her for damages to the estate because she has no legal power to sell off father's separate assets.

.

But she is right that if he has more debts than assets, everything would have to be sold to go towards paying them. However, she might just be saying that to deter anyone from filing a probate case since she only gets 1/3 if they did.

.

.

thanks

Barrister