From a425couple@21:1/5 to All on Wed Apr 18 14:37:23 2018
My stepmother stole money owed to me — how do I find my late father’s will? Published: Apr 17, 2018 7:40 a.m. ET
This daughter says her father put one of his properties in her name, but
she is unsure how to claim it
By QUENTIN FOTTRELL
PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR
My father was married to his wife for 22 years. He died in March. I
recently found out he left a house in my name. My stepmother has not
mentioned the house to me at all. I don’t know if he has a will and nor
do I know how to go about finding out. He also has properties in his
name only, although she has properties as well. I believe she has stolen
money owed to me. How can I go about fighting for my father’s things? Do
I have a fighting chance? I am his first born.
Daughter in Michigan
It’s not a question of you having a fighting chance. This isn’t a battle
of wills or a clash of personalities or an opportunity for anyone — your stepmother, included — to settle old scores. This may be a stressful and emotional situation, but this is a legal issue and your stepmother is
obliged to follow the rule of the law. Hiring an attorney to help you
may be worth it depending on the size of your father’s estate. Any money
or belongings taken from your father’s estate should be returned. You
need to gather the relevant facts about what is owed to you.
Also see: My brother stole my $110,000 inheritance by altering our
If the house is in your name, it’s yours. If your father died intestate
— without a will — you will also likely inherit a portion of your father’s estate. The law varies from state to state, but in Michigan
your stepmother would receive the first $100,000 of your father’s
estate. (You mother would inherit the first $150,000 of your father’s
estate if they were still married.) After that, your stepmother would
receive half of the estate and your father’s direct heirs (you and your siblings) will receive the other half. The probate court will distribute property that is not jointly owned by your stepmother and father.
All beneficiaries are entitled to receive a copy of the will. File a
petition with the county court to see if there was a will filed. In
Michigan the executor or administrator of an estate is known as a
“personal representative.” Beneficiaries and heirs must be notified by
the personal representative. According to the Michigan Legislature, “A personal representative is a fiduciary who shall observe the standard of
care applicable to a trustee …The personal representative shall keep
each presumptive distributee informed of the estate settlement.”
Recommended: After my father died, my brother has been pressuring me to
lend him money
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