There is no will in place. All rental and homesteaded properties were purchased after marriage and owned by both spouses during the past quarter century. In addition to the adult children belonging to the deceased only, there are also minor children who belong to the deceased and widower.
If the property was owned as "a married couple" or as "husband and wife" (tenants by the entireties), the spouse automatically gets the real property. If the real estate was not owned by both in this matter, it gets complicated. You should consult with an attorney immediately as there may be time-sensitive court filings and elections you may need to make.
I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in MI and FL so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice. You seek more specific advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.
If the property was owned as "a married couple" or as "husband and wife" (tenants by the entireties), the spouse automatically gets the real property. There is no probate necessary while the surviving spouse is alive. If the surviving spouse does not have a will, only her children or descendants will inherit the property upon her death.
My comments are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, are not confidential, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Proper legal advice can only be given by an attorney who agrees to represent you, who reviews the facts of your specific case, who does not have a conflict of interest preventing the representation, and who is licensed as an attorney in the state where the law applies.
As the other attorneys have indicated, the answer to your question depends on the wording of the deed to the property. The type of ownership and the consequences when one of the parties dies are determined by the deed. You should have the deeds reviewed by an experienced real estate lawyer in the county in which the property is located. Your lawyer can advise you on ownership and the steps you need to protect your interests.
Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.
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