Q: My Mother in law passed away
My mother in laws name is on the deed to the house. She passed away. She left the house to her kids in her will. Her husband is still alive who is a step dad. The will has not been filed with the court yet. The will states the husband can live in the house until his death. Does the will stand? Or does the deed go into the husbands name? The husband also has kids of his own who have no contact with him. They will no doubt come out of the woodwork at his death and think they will get the house. How does this type of scenario play out? Thank you
A: If there is a will, it should be filed with the court within six months of the date of death. Notice will be provided to persons with a potential interest in the estate and a hearing date will be set. If no one opposes the probate of the will, it will be probated as a valid will and an executor (or administrator with the will attached) will be appointed. Creditors will have a period of four months from the filing of the petition to make claims against the estate. The spouse will have the right to assert certain claims against the estate (e.g., homestead, spousal share; spousal election) and the court will have a process to determine the spousal rights. After creditors' claims are processed and the spousal rights have been determined, the balance of the estate would be disposed of in accorance with the terms of the will. There are a lot of variables involved, such as the size of the estate, the specific provisions of the will, the spousal rights, and creditor's claims, that could affect what the spouse receives and what the children or other persons named as beneficiaries of the will's provisions might receive. You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible and establishe a plan of action. .
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