Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Washington

Q: My mother in-law wasnt informed about her father's death. Found out through Google. She was his only child. What to do?

He remarried when she was 3. No other children. The wife prevented contact and cut off contact with his daughter when he became ill with Alzheimer.

2 Lawyer Answers
Brent Bowden
Brent Bowden
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Lynnwood
  • Licensed in Washington

A: I would suggest that the first thing she do is try to figure out if her father's estate was probated and whether he had a will.

Andrekita Silva
Andrekita Silva
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Seattle, WA
  • Licensed in Washington

A: I assume you are wondering whether or not your mother -in-law is entitled to an inheritance. A child will not necessarily receive an inheritance from a deceased father.

Assuming the deceased lived in Washington, if father had only community property and his new wife was still alive, if he died without a will, new wife would get all his community property. If he had some separate property and he died without a will, then the child would be entitled to 1/2 of his separate property. Unless someone marries late in life and brings property to a marriage, in Washington it is common to have no separate property.

Your mother-in-law can call the surviving wife (widow) to make inquiries. Or, she can search the court records for whatever county the deceased lived. If a probate action was filed, it will provide information about if there was a will, who the beneficiaries were, who received notice, etc.

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