Forest City, NC asked in Estate Planning and Probate for North Carolina

Q: My mother passed away a couple months ago. Her husband (4th husband) survived her.

He is now residing in the house on an acre of land. My question is what am I entitled to as her biological son? He has two daughters from a separate marriage who live half way across the country. I believe the home is in both their names. Any information would be appreciated. I want to know my standing before I approach him. Thank you!

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1 Lawyer Answer
Angela L. Haas
Angela L. Haas
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: I am sorry for your loss.

To find the answer to your question, you'll need to find out if she had a Will. If she had a Will, it will dictate what happens to everything she owned. As to the house, this will depend on her Will, and possibly how the house is titled. If it is titled as "tenancy by the entirety", then her husband will own the property outright. If she died without a will, you would be entitled to 1/2 of her property, if you are her only child (her stepdaughters don't count, if she died without a Will), AFTER her husband gets the first $60,000 in personal property. Again, and very important, find out if she had a Will. If she did, most likely, he will "probate" the Will (meaning he will file it with the Estates Division at the courthouse in the county where she last resided). At that point, you can obtain a copy, unless he gives you a copy beforehand. If he probates the Will, the Clerk of Court will ensure that all named beneficiaries get their allotted share.

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