Father passed leaving behind no will 2 children-2stepchildren and heard his wife and him may have been legally separated 6 months before his death so she would not be reliable for his medical bills. Not for certain on this though. Also heard she made him sign over his businesses and vehicles to her name when he first started getting ill. They have separate and possibly a joint bank account. She had inherited millions from her mother and and grandmother passing years ago. She kept separate so he had to work for all he had to be able to leave his children and grandchildren enough behind for us all not to worry. But now there's no will and we are afraid she has free reign to do what she pleases with his belongings? We have asked repeatedly for some of his personal items and even to buy a vehicle of his and she avoids us or says no she can't do that it belongs to the business now. I would just like to know if my sister and I have any say in anything and if any of his money,businesses,cars we are entitled to at all? We cannot afford an attorney have no money live paycheck to paycheck. Not sure really how any of this works or what to do please help thanks
Your father's probatable estate consists of assets that were solely in his name. Assets that were jointly held or had a designated beneficiary will pass to the survivor. When there is no will, the items in your father's name alone will pass through the laws of intestacy of the state in which he resided at the time he passed away. That likely will be a division between his wife and his children.
Now, you refer to a business that your father owned. Contrary to his wife's contention, a business (in whatever form) does not inherit the property of its principal. Still, the form in which the business was held (corporation, limited liability company, partnership, limited partnership, sole proprietorship) is relevant.
Your father's wife will have to bring a proceeding to administer the estate. And you will receive notice of that proceeding.
Finally, the fact that you don't have money to hire an attorney is not relevant; if you are entitled to assets from your father's estate, you can probably find an attorney who will be willing to wait for his or her fee until those assets are available to you. Call around.
Good luck to you.
Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.
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