Q: Dad passed on 05/01/2021. Can the wife of 30 years play favorites to the beneficiaries? My dad made a Will in 2004.
Dad deceased 05/01/2021; he did a Will in 2004 naming his 4 children as beneficiaries; upon the wife selling the home his last wishes were to give each one of us (his 4 children) $20,000. But after selling the home she only gave 2 of the children $20, 000 and did not give the other two children anything. They owned everything jointly. Why wouldn’t the attorney who witnessed the Will not warn my father in 2004 that the wife could take everything once he passed due to him quit claiming his house deed in 1992, and that will take precedence over the Will? Did the Tendancy by entirety with survivorship rights come into affect after he made his Will? It doesn’t make sense.. The only sense i can gather is it was my dads mistake for not revisiting his Will since 2004. As my dads daughter and beneficiary is there anything I can do? Do I have any rights at all? She is the executor playing favorites to other beneficiaries. This is sad to say the least. Thank you for your time.
A: This is a very fact-dependent situation. If your dad and his wife owned the house as joint tenants, then it's sale is not subject to the terms of the will. Once your dad passed, the house became his wife's by operation of law, for her to do with as she pleases. She effectively made gifts of her own assets to two of your siblings.
It probably can't be determined with certainty what the drafting attorney advised your dad.
Even with the will, the wife would be entitled to her spousal elective share. Without knowing the home's value, and depending on her election, that could encompass the home's value regardless.
Best thing to do would be to take everything to a local probate attorney for advice.
Kenneth V Zichi agrees with this answer
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