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Tisha

What am I entitled to proceeding father’s death

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My father passed away last year, he owned a successful business in grave digging. He did not have a will when he passed away. My step mother got everything and did not share any of my father’s estate with my sister and I. Is this legal? If not what should I do? Can a lawyer take his fees out of winning settlement if granted since I have no money to pay up front?  PLEASE HELP!!

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5 minutes ago, Tisha said:

My step mother got everything and did not share any of my father’s estate with my sister and I. Is this legal?

 

Probably. Married people typically own everything jointly with right of survivorship.

 

6 minutes ago, Tisha said:

If not what should I do?

 

Well, one thing you can do is look up their home in the county property records. If they owned it jointly with right of survivorship, she automatically got ownership the moment he died. And it's a good bet that, from there, everything else was owned jointly.

 

And you would get nothing unless there were assets owned as his sole and separate property.

 

7 minutes ago, Tisha said:

Can a lawyer take his fees out of winning settlement if granted since I have no money to pay up front?

 

That would be up to any given lawyer. All you can do is call around and ask.

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It depends on what the assets in your father's estate were, and how they were titled.

 

Georgia law on what happens when a person dies and doesn't have a will (aka intestacy), but is survived by a spouse and children, is that the surviving spouse and children share in assets that would be subject to probate.

 

But some assets aren't subject to probate (for example, as adjusterjack points out, real estate that is owned jointly with right of survivorship; other examples include bank or investment accounts that have designated beneficiaries).

 

It might be worthwhile for you to find a local lawyer to meet with and discuss the situation in detail -- to review what assets your father had and how they may have been titled, with the goal of determining whether legal action is worthwhile.

 

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2 hours ago, Tisha said:

My father passed away last year, he owned a successful business in grave digging. He did not have a will when he passed away. My step mother got everything and did not share any of my father’s estate with my sister and I. Is this legal?  If not what should I do?

 

Well...what do you mean when you say that she "got everything"?

 

When a Georgia resident dies without a will and is survived by a spouse and descendants, the spouse and descendants split the estate (with the spouse being entitled to no less than 1/3 of the estate).  After your father died, did you or anyone else seek to probate his estate?  If not, why not?  If so, what happened with the probate?  If probate was never done and you want your share of the estate, that's how you do it.

 

Our of curiosity, are you concerned more with money or things that have sentimental value but no financial value?

 

 

2 hours ago, Tisha said:

Can a lawyer take his fees out of winning settlement if granted since I have no money to pay up front?

 

Probate attorneys are typically paid a percentage of the estate, but the only way to find out is to call some local attorneys and ask.

 

 

2 hours ago, adjusterjack said:

Married people typically own everything jointly with right of survivorship.

 

I don't agree with this as phrased.  Houses and financial accounts are typically owned in this way, but (1) very few other assets can be titled (JWROS or otherwise), and (2) the OP indicated that his/her father's widow is a stepmother, so it's possible that the house was owned before the marriage and he didn't add the new wife to the title.

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