Charlotte, NC asked in Estate Planning and Probate for North Carolina

Q: Who gets house and everything when stepfather then passes?

I am 36 years old. My mom passed away many years ago and so did my only brother. Everything of course was then only my stepdads. My stepdad has been my father since I was 5 years old. I consider him my father of course. We’ve always had a great relationship but recently he has been ill and we’ve discussed about when he passes lately. He said not to worry he don’t need a will because everything will go to me when he passes since he never had any other children. But he does have one particular sister and niece and nephews that are of the bad crowd that I know are gonna cause problems when he passes thinking they are entitled to something and cause harassment of all sorts even though they never have had much to do with him. They will want to have something to do with him when he passes I know. Is he right that I’m entitled to everything & not worry or should he write it down? Either way this part of his family I’m gonna have a problem with I just want to make sure I am legally correct.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: Your stepdad is mistaken and you are right to be concerned. You are NOT in the line of succession. To inherit from your stepdad he would need to name you as the death beneficiary on his financial accounts (an excellent method) AND sign a will that leaves everything to you (for items that do not have death beneficiaries). If he does not do those things your late brother’s children, if any, will inherit or if he had no children then his siblings and their children will inherit.

Ethan A. Trice
Ethan A. Trice
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Hendersonville, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: If he never adopted you, you don't inherit from him in the absence of a will. Intestacy statutes will apply and the property will either go to his children (if he has any legal children) or his sibling(s). His living sister's daughter won't have a claim (rather the sister herself does) and any nieces/nephews of dead siblings of your stepfather would inherit.

Realistically, he should either make a will or do a ladybird deed to you, if that's what he's wanting.

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