• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.


Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.



my father lived in nc andpassed away in oct, two months prior his wife left him and moved in with another man in sc. this was his fifth wife, approximately seven years ago he switched the business and land into joint accounts so that he could get on medicaid. For over five years my father and stepmother had told me and my niece (brother is dead) that the business was ours and the house my stepmother. i live far away and came to take care of my father when he got real sick but i could not find a will. i have been told that my step is letting everything sit for a year, i have also been told that she is giving away items that was in my fathers name alone. she has totally abandoned the family and is intent on selling everything. what can i do as the only child?



MAY 10, 2001


The verbal comments your father made about the business being yours will not hold up legally unless that promise (or some other instruction about how the business is to be handled) is also stated in the will. You need to protect your and your family's interests by getting a North Carolina attorney to file a petition with the probate court to "force" the stepmother to produce a will if she has it(normally, it is a legal requirement for the will to be filed in probate court within 30 days after a person's death).

The stepmother's idea of "letting everything sit for a year" is very stupid, but I wonder if she knows about and has seen the will and thinks that maybe she is the person who will benefit the most from it and may be stalling to keep other family members from getting what is rightfully theirs. The executor is responsible for claiming all bank accounts and other assets, unless her name is on the joint accounts.

You or your attorney could also file to be administrator of the estate, if no executor was named in the will. It is the executor who will have the power to distribute the personal property of the estate, and this stepmother is going to be in trouble for giving out items without the proper authority to do so. You all need to consider having your attorney to write her a letter to stop giving out property until the executor has been appointed by the court.

If there is a will, the stepmother will probably qualify to get one-third of the estate, and the children will get a share of the estate (but I don't know how much). If there is no will and only 1 surviving child, that child will get a minimum $15,000 (if the estate is large enough), with half of the balance of the estate going to the spouse and the other half of the balance going to the children.


[email protected]


Find the Right Lawyer for Your Legal Issue!

Fast, Free, and Confidential