Rolla, MO asked in Estate Planning, Civil Litigation, Collections and Probate for North Dakota

Q: Dad died 15 months ago in ND and step mom died this month. no children together. Next of kin is? Her mom is alive but 90

They had no children together but married over 20 years. Step moms mother is alive but is 90 and lives in nursing home (possibly mentally incompetent) . She has no birth or legally adopted children and no will or trust. Who is her next of next of kin?. Since its going to probate could i contest and ask for my dads things and money if there is any?

1 Lawyer Answer

Jim Ed "Jed" Franklin

Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Denver, CO
  • Licensed in North Dakota

A: Your question is missing some important information, feel free to contact me via email so I can better answer it. But generally, you should have some interest in your father's estate, though it sounds like there is not much in it. If so, then the "spousal share" may eat up all of the estate. The spousal share is what your stepmother gets from your dad's estate. Nevertheless, it is possible that you are entitled to what is in your father's estate. If your stepmother is the personal representative and lacks mental capacity to administer his estate, then you can challenge based on competency. Is your father's estate being probated? Who is the personal representative? Were you legally adopted by the stepmother?

Then, assuming the stepmother has no birth children whatsoever, and no will, and you were legally adopted by her, when she passes her estate will go to whomever she legally adopted (it goes to her "descendants"--since she had no birth children, her only descendants would be her adopted children). If she had no adopted children, then it would go to her parents (likely deceased), and if her parents are deceased, it would go to their descendants (i.e., aunts and uncles of your stepmother). Hope this helps, let me know if you need more info.

Although I am licensed to practice law in North Dakota, this answer in no way constitutes legal advice and NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP exists between us. If you need legal advice, you should engage an attorney licensed in ND.

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