(Closed) Step Father died,my Mom needs some Advice

posted 6 years ago in Legal
Post # 3
4366 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

To access any money in your stepdads accounts (ones which he is the only name on the account) the bank will need to see a copy of the death certificate, I imagine it is only you mum who has it so they can’t do anything.  Even then I think it takes a while for funds to be “released”.  I only have a little info since my grandmother died earlier this year, I am in the UK so it could be different though.

From what you’ve said about these brothers, and the fact they have already stolen a golf club from your mum, I’d get the locks changed.  As his widow, your mum is his next of kin, and all of his belongs are legally hers (unless they do something different in the US of course).

I’m sorry you’re going through this, death sometimes brings out the worst in people.

Post # 4
7560 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

They couldn’t go after her money unless they sue her on some unrelated grounds (like if she assaulted them, for example.) That’s not the part I would be worried about though, she should be concerned about her join assets with her late husband. If I were her, I would give the sons the not valuable things like a set of golf clubs to keep the peace. If she fights with them or tries to block them out, they will just get angry and cause more problems. On the other hand, she should closely gaurd any valuable assets or investments until she has a meeting with her financial advisor. The advisor will tell her what to do from there on out. 

Post # 5
5778 posts
Bee Keeper

Does she have a lawyer? That’s the first thing I’d be doing, as it sounds like the sons are expecting there to be problems and are already trying to intimidate her. The vultures are swarming already, and she needs to know what to do to protect herself. I agree she should get the locks changed too.

A financial advisor will only address the money part and is not going to advise her about anything else. She needs an attorney!

Post # 6
13289 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

She needs to get an attorney.  That’s all the applicable advice you can get on this forum.  No one here knows all the details, laws vary state to state, and it’s not smart to take advice from well-intentioned strangers on the internet.  Get a lawyer, bring all the documentation you have, and go from there.

Post # 7
11233 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

I definitely agree about her getting a lawyer. However, I do also want to say that anyone can get a copy of a death certificate (at least in the state of  Michigan; I suppose this could vary). All you need is the decedant’s first and last name, county of death, and approximate date of death. I just requested a copy for my dad, and they wanted nothing more than that. 

But yes, she needs a lawyer who can help her divide the assets and advise her.

Post # 8
3692 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

She needs a lawyer, and to get the locks changed.  Who knows how many copies of the keys the stepson had!  

Post # 9
1278 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

First Off get a security system, Change the locks the door and get a great lawyer and yes see that financial advisor, they have no grounds for any of the money unless there was a will and you said there wasn’t.

Post # 10
363 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Definitely get those locks changed! Is that something you could offer to arrange for her, so she doesn’t have to deal with it right now? And yes, she needs an attorney. It sucks that she has to go through this during an already difficult time, but she definitely needs to protect herself. 

Post # 11
9139 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

She needs to see a financial advisor and/or attorney ASAP!  There are intestacy laws (i.e. laws that kick in when there is no will) that may affect her property interests depending on how they kept their finances.  His children (even as adults) may have some interest in his property and bank accounts depending on state law in Missouri.  She needs to change the locks and notify their banks and account holders of your stepfathers death to make sure there are no unauthorized transactions made by family members.  Sadly, this could have been avoided by meeting with an attorney and/or financial advisor around the time they were married.

***This is not legal advice.  Please see an attorney in your local state/county for bonofide legal advice.***

Post # 12
3885 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Your mom definitely needs a lawyer who specializes in estate law. Leaving no will definitely complicates things, as her husband’s wishes really were not known, and while he may have said lots of things to her over the course of their marriage, nothing’s documented. She should be prepared for a long and potentially painful process.

Also she should try to keep in mind that people express their grief in all sorts of strange ways, many of which don’t seem to make sense. I am not trying to excuse or stand up for your step-brothers’ behavior, only to point out that it may be the greif talking.  No matter how heated things become, or how obnoxious or strange some people act over the next few months, your mother should remind herself frequently that it may indeed be the greif causing the bad behavior, and not rush to any conclusions that may further damage her relationship with her step-sons. 

Perhaps a mediator or family counselor would be a good resource in addition to the attorney. Some people will immeditately see an attorney’s presence as a hostile move— which is really is not; estate law is confusing and complex, and with no will to guide her, she definitely needs an attorney— but the fact that it is percieved that way means she may do well to bring in a professional who is skilled at bringing families together and healing wounds.

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