My father has allowed my stepmother to put all of his business and personal assets in her name. I am worried that this will create a problem for me if there are problems with the will and my step- and half-siblings may have more rights than my brother and I do.
Estate Planning Attorney
It depends upon what the will says but certainly with stepmother in control, things could go against you. If you feel comfortable, sit down with your father and discuss your concerns. There are many estate planning attorneys that can help put your fathers wishes in writing and try and help ensure fairness when he is gone.
Your concern is legitimate.
I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference
Wills and Living Wills Lawyer
If what you're trying to ask is what happens when your father dies, if the assets are all in your step-mother's name alone, or in joint tenancy with your father, then there will be no inheritance, as he doesn't own the assets. Step children only inherit from the step parent if the will leaves them something, or if they have been legally adopted by the step parent.
It depends on what your father has done. Any assets acquired before marriage are separate property unless transmuted to community property. Without a Will or Trust your stepmom gets 100% of community property. 1/3 of separate property. Obviously the Will will control if there is a Will, but only to property subject to probate.
If your dad has put all assets solely in your step-mother's name there could be issues. Same if he transferred title to joint tenancy or community property with rights of survivorship. Under either method title would pass by operation of law outside of probate.
If your dad has capacity, you really should recommend that he see a competent estate planning attorney.
The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.