When a person dies intestate (without a will), his or her assets are distributed in accordance with a formula mandated by the state. Each state has at least a slightly different approach to intestacy. In New York, the surviving spouse would receive half of the value of the estate plus $50,000 and the children would receive the balance. However, there is an exception in the case of jointly held property and those assets for which there is a named beneficiary. I assume that exception is what you are referring to when you say that your father "added her name to his stuff before he died." Thus, it would appear that most of the assets that comprise the estate would go to your father's wife. I imagine that the personal property, and probably not much else, would be distributed in accordance with the law of intestacy.
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 legal advice can only be provided in circumstances in which the attorney is able to ask questions of the person seeking legal advice and to thus gather appropriate information.
If he died without a will, she gets everything. Another reason you should always hire an attorney to prepare a will so that the decdedents desires for his possessions are respected.
Legal disclaimer: This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice nor does it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Thank You
If husband and wife owned everything jointly-the will would not matter.
The joint survivor would own everything and you would not be receive inheritance unless stepmother leaves you something.
The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.