I am very sorry you are in this difficult situation.
When your grandmother passed, assuming she was not leaving your father only a life estate in the house, it sounds like the house went to him. Thus, upon his death, the house should be part of his estate that would pass according to his will if he had one or according to the intestate laws in Virginia (assuming he passed in Virginia). You stated he did not leave a will. I am assuming his wife is not your mother. Thus, under the intestate laws in Virginia, his wife would be entitled to 1/3 of his estate and you and any other children he had would be entitled to 2/3 of his estate. As I do not know what else his estate comprised of, it is difficult to determine how the house should have been divided or dealt with at his death. Was probate ever opened on his estate? If he put his wife's name on the deed to the house with him with rights of survivorship, she would be the owner of the house. Any assets that he owned jointly with his wife or another person would belong to the surviving person after his death and would pass outside of probate and the intestate laws. Any assets that he listed a beneficiary on, such as life insurance, would pass outside of probate and the intestate laws and would go directly to the beneficiary he listed. There are a lot of questions that would have to be answered before a sufficient answer can be made for your question.
I would suggest that you sit down with a probate attorney that practices in the county where your father passed away to go through all the details in order to arrive at the best answer to your questions.
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The facts that you state are very confusing and it is not at all clear what you are saying. You really need to go to an attorney and bring all the documents you have and the attorney can help you get this worked out. You can search for an attorney in your area here on Avvo. Look for someone who handles will, estate planning, and probate, or elder law.
Evan H. Farr can be reached at 703-691-1888 or at http://www.farrlawfirm.com. Evan is Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation, which is approved by the American Bar Association, but Virginia has no procedure for approving certifying organizations. NOTICE - Unless expressly stated otherwise, this communication: (1) is not legal advice absent an existing attorney-client relationship between us; (2) does not create an attorney-client relationship; (3) does not constitute an offer, acceptance, or contract amendment; (4) may contain confidential or legally privileged information protected by the attorney-client relationship and/or work product privilege; (5) is only for the use of the individual to whom it is intended by the sender to be sent, and if you are not such recipient, disclosure, copying, distribution or reliance upon this communication is prohibited; and (6) is not intended, and cannot be used, to avoid tax-related penalties pursuant to treasury department circular 230.
Please accept my condolences for your recent loss. It is difficult to think about business matters during this time. However, steps must be taken to settle the estate and move forward.
I concur with my colleagues and recommend that you contact an experienced probate/wills and estate attorney in your area. If there is no will, by operation of law property will pass intestate according to a statutory scheme that disposes of property. However, if there is a valid will it will govern. Your question cannot be answered in this forum. Please contact an attorney for a private consultation to resolve this matter. Best of luck~
This response is only intended for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice or as a substitute for hiring an attorney in your state. Further, by sharing this information, it is in no way intended to establish an attorney client relationship with the reader.