My father passed away/died last week. My stepmother is still alive. I have one real sister and three step sisters. He had no will. He is worth millions. Do I or my sisters have any legal right to that money? Or can my stepmother keep it all like she plans to?
2 Answers from Attorneys
I'm sorry to hear about your father. To answer your question, the estate would pass under the laws of intestacy. You can also get the family together and agree on how to split up the estate if you'd rather. If you think the step mother will unfairly take estate assets, then you need to yourself a probate lawyer ASAP. If she's secreting assets, then time is not on your side.
I am sorry for the death of your father. Your question has insufficient information to provide an answer. We need to know where your father resided at the time of his death. Different states have different rules for intestate succession (here is the Indiana statute: http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title29/ar1/ch2.html. Are the step-sister's you mention in fact half sisters, the natural or adopted children of your father by his spouse your step-mother? And there is the further possibility that your father put all his assets into joint ownership with his wife, so those assets would probably not be subject to probate law. So, I recommend you gather as much information as you can and confer with a real lawyer experienced in probate law, in the locality where your father resided at the time of his death. Good luck.