Q: Do children have rights to an estate if the parent has surviving spouse?
She passed 4 years ago and my stepfather won't speak to us or let us in the home. We have nothing of our mothers. The home was left to her by a man she took care of for 10 years or more. Her husband was on the house by law but she had me take her to a divorce attorney before we found out she was sick. But once we got the news she was sick, she didnt see the point of getting a divorce. He has been selling her belongings and letting all kinds of people stay there. But he won't speak to my brother and I, nor will he let us step foot on the property. Do my brother and I have any rights?
A: It depends on whether mom had a will and some other things. If my wife died, my son couldn't just come into my house and take things that belonged to my wife (let's say her favorite baseball cap that she wore when he was growing up, and so it had some meaning to him). Bank accounts, cars, land, etc., is a bit different because those things are titled. See an attorney!
A: I am very sorry for your loss and the passing of your mom, please accept my condolences for you and your family at this difficult time. Much of what you seek to get answers to depends, it depends on precisely how the property was held (husband and wife as tenants by entireties or some similar manner), so a review of the deed is likely going to be required, but in many instances the surviving spouse is entitled to a life estate or a 1/2 interest minimally, if there was no pre or post-nuptial agreement. If there is a Will that your mom had or a Trust, this will matter, but the surviving spouse will still have rights as well. Your starting point will be a Florida Probate Attorney and the property deed, any assets in your mom's name alone will need to be probated, any jointly owned accounts will go to the joint owner, only assets in your mom's name alone will be probated and her surviving spouse will have rights whether there is a Will or not to at least the spousal share (30%), so you can see this has a lot of variations potentially. You will need to deal one on one with a Florida Probate Attorney if this is in Florida and otherwise one from the state where this is taking place.
Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer
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