My father passed away late oct 2014. To all of our surprises my father never had a written will stipulating who gets what when he passes away, however he did make my stepmother the executor of his wishes. Right after my father passed away my step mom informed both me and my brother the amount of money that my father had told her that he wished us to be left. It was a considerable amount, and she told us that if she dispersed the money to us all at once that we may get taxed on it…so she gave us a small portion of the whole amount that she had told us, and then informed us that we would receive the other portion of the money a year from November 2014. I had contacted her earlier this year and asked if there was any way that I could receive the other portion a little earlier since I am financially struggling. But when I emailed her about it she told me that she would not be willing to give me the other portion of the money because she did not approve of fiancé…This makes no sense given I was with my fiancé at the time the other portion was paid out…I have a record of me cashing the check from the first portion and I also have an email from her stating that she is not willing to pay the other portion..there were no conditions given to me as to the condition my life was in when I could get paid, and this is hurting my welfare seeing as I’m assuming my father wanted to leave the money to me so I could be taken care of, and right now that’s not happening…I need some help, do I have chance of winning a case?
I am sorry for your loss. As executor of your father's estate, your stepmother must follow the probate law of the state where your father passed away. Sadly, because his wishes were not in a Will, that state decides what happens to his property (usually some combination of distribution between your father's wife and your father's children). If your stepmother is not following those provisions, you should consult with a probate attorney in that state to determine how to proceed from there.
This answer does not form an attorney-client relationship, and is not legal advice. Only an attorney that has agreed to represent you may give you advice specific to your situation.
Yes. You need to contact a lawyer who handles probate matters ASAP, before she spends or hides the money.
This communication is general in nature and not to be construed as legal advice or creating an attorney-client relationship. All situations are different and you should meet with and discuss your particular situation with an attorney.
If your father died without a will, his estate would be handled by state law and provide some combination of assets to his wife (your stepmother) and his children. See attached link. Other than that there is no such thing as a verbal will although I like your creativity in calling her "executor of his wishes" there is no such thing. If she is giving you assets that are hers it is up to her to decide if she wants to give anything to you.
This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature.
I hate say it, but your step-mother's acctions sound kind of fishy. I don't see haow splitting your estate distribution into two parts will save taxes, becaue there shouldn't be any income tax on the distributions and any estate tax due is determined as of the date of death or an alternate date, such as 6 months later. If she is referring to a state inheritance tax, then that would be determined by the law of the state where your father passed away, and/or the state where his assets, such as real estate, are located. Definitely contact an experienced probate lawyer to help you sort this out. And good luck!
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