Bremerton, WA asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Washington

Q: Who gets property after death.

My mom died 4years ago and her home was in her and her deceased husband's name. She had no will. She was remarried at the time of her death but the home was never in my step dads name. My stepdad recently passed away and has no kids so who does the house go to?

1 Lawyer Answer
Brent Bowden
Brent Bowden
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Lynnwood, WA
  • Licensed in Washington

A: Under Washington intestacy laws (which govern in the absence of a will), your surviving spouse inherits all of your community property and half of your separate property if you have surviving children.

Your situation is somewhat complicated. The first question is who inherited her previous husband's share of the house. If it was community property, it would have gone entirely to your mother. If not, it would have been split between your mother and his children or parents, if he had any living. Then you have to figure out if your mom's portion of the house remained separate property. Arguably, if community assets were used for upkeep or to pay for it, it could be considered partially or entirely community property. Any community property portion would pass 100% to stepdad and the separate property portion would pass 50% to stepdad and 50% to surviving children.

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