Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Tracy P

Dad dies with no will, wife starts probate then dies

Recommended Posts

My Dad died without a will about 8 months ago. Just before his passing, he and his wife of many years had a community property agreement drawn up with an attorney but never finished it. It was incomplete. His estate is worth almost $190k and only $10k is owed (med. bills). After he died at some point, probate began at the request of his wife. So yesterday I received a certified letter that there will be a probate hearing for my Dad's estate in like 4 days. She, myself, and my sister we're named heirs. Only my Dad's wife died 2 nights ago. And with the letter was a waiver for me to sign to allow some other lawyer to handle his case. What should I expect at this hearing and would it be wise to get an attorney if I want to get a portion of his estate? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, the waiver is a consent to grant non-intervention powers to the probate lawyer. 

 

But now I'm curious if his estate went to his wife because she DID survive him by many months, and would NOW go to her next of kin (her adult children) because she has died, and not go to me or my sister.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A portion of your father's estate should go to his children since they are not the children of his wife.  The amount depends on the division between community property (earned during the marriage) and his separate property, (owned by him before the marriage).  Parsing it out could be difficult.

 

Your stepmother's estate, including whatever she inherited from your father, will go to her children.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is happening in the state of Washington, correct?

 

Yes, you will want to consult an attorney on this to have someone to get your questions answered about the probate process and to have a second opinion/professional advice about anything that the personal representative tells you.

This is a somewhat complex situation that can not be sorted out on a message board because we (and you) can not see the details of all the relevant documents involved.

The personal representative is going to look at all assets involved, including the bank account to see if a co-account owner was listed on that (who is automatically entitled to get that money when your father died) or whether that money goes into his estate.

 

His wife while living was entitled to at least half of your father's estate, and his children entitled to the other half.  

 

If you are implying that the certified letter you received indicates that you are an heir, then that is a positive development for you.  Your father's estate will be probated first, and then his wife's estate will be probated at some future date (I assume her children will take care of this).  Do you know yet whether his wife left a will?

 

Do NOT sign the non-intervention waiver until you have discussed the pros and cons of this with your attorney.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Tracy P said:

he and his wife of many years

 

Did they own a home?

 

Check property ownership records in that county. If they owned it jointly with right of survivorship then she got it at the moment of his death so it's not part of his probate estate. That's easy to find out and generally the largest part of one's estate. If that's the case, then there may be little or nothing to make it worth while spending money on a probate attorney. Wouldn't hurt to seek a free consultation.

 

If you don't want to hire your own attorney, nothing wrong with calling up the one who sent you the letter and saying "What's in it for us?"

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Adjusterjack, Knort4, and RetiredinVA for all of your thoughts and suggestions, it has been very helpful. We have decided to consult an attorney, my sis & I, just to be on the safe side. Again, thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/5/2019 at 2:02 AM, Tracy P said:

he and his wife of many years had a community property agreement drawn up with an attorney but never finished it.

 

Saying that they had the "agreement drawn up" slightly contradicts the statement that they "never finished it."  I'll assume that the attorney started to draft the agreement but that it was never completed or signed.  Therefore, it is a meaningless thing.

 

 

On 5/5/2019 at 2:02 AM, Tracy P said:

She, myself, and my sister we're named heirs.

 

Since you said your father didn't have a will, I'm not entirely sure what this means.  Under Washington intestate succession law, when a person dies without a will and is survived by both a spouse and children, the spouse inherits all of the community property and half of the separate property, and the children divide the balance of the separate property.

 

 

On 5/5/2019 at 2:02 AM, Tracy P said:

What should I expect at this hearing

 

We have no way of knowing.

 

 

On 5/5/2019 at 2:02 AM, Tracy P said:

would it be wise to get an attorney if I want to get a portion of his estate?

 

I think that depends in large part on how much of his $190k estate was separate property, but it can't hurt.

 

 

On 5/5/2019 at 3:59 AM, Tracy P said:

But now I'm curious if his estate went to his wife because she DID survive him by many months, and would NOW go to her next of kin (her adult children) because she has died, and not go to me or my sister.

 

Your father's wife's share of his estate will go to whomever she designated in her will or, if she didn't have a will, to her heirs under the intestate law.

 

 

On 5/5/2019 at 5:51 AM, knort4 said:

This is a somewhat complex situation

 

I disagree.  There's little or nothing complicated here.

 

 

On 5/5/2019 at 5:51 AM, knort4 said:

His wife while living was entitled to at least half of your father's estate, and his children entitled to the other half.

 

You just made this up, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pg1067

Yes, you're right, they hadn't finished the paperwork. I'm just curious why they were doing a community property agreement if it's all going to his wife anyway. We weren't able to get an appointment with an atty before the hearing, which is tomorrow morning I found out this am that my sister signed the form giving representation rights to the probate lawyers. Guess I'll find out soon enough what's what.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/8/2019 at 9:32 PM, Tracy P said:

I'm just curious why they were doing a community property agreement if it's all going to his wife anyway.

 

For starters, the term "community property agreement" is vague.  It doesn't describe what the purpose of the agreement was.  And, of course, no one here is in any position to speak intelligently about the motivations of people we don't know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...