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Trusts and Wills

My Father Left Everything to My Stepmother
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My Father Left Everything to My Stepmother 

If your father remarried but hadn’t written a will before his untimely passing, the Estate will be divided per inheritance laws called intestate rules. Under these rules, the primary beneficiary of the Estate would be his new wife rather than you. If there was a Will or a Trust that left everything to the stepmother, and there were no special provisions in the parent’s Will about what would happen if the stepmother died, she may leave everything to her children.

Nothing would be left to you and your siblings. You may wish to hire a probate attorney if you believe the Will is being misinterpreted. Contact California’s leading probate lawyer Hess-Verdon at (949) 706-7300.


Q: The woman my father married after my mother died had struggled to raise her three children after a messy divorce from her husband. When my father died, I was shocked to find out that he had left everything in his Will to her. She later died and left everything she owned to her kids, including the four-bedroom house that my brothers and I grew up in. Is it possible to challenge my stepmother’s Will? 

A: This is an unfortunate circumstance, not at all uncommon. Our firm receives several calls each year from people in a similar position who want to explore how they may challenge their loved one’s last Will. We’re sorry to say that it sounds as though your father left everything to his wife, who then decided to leave her possessions to other family members when she passed away. 

Contesting a Will 

Q: Could I contest my dad’s Will if he left everything to my step-mom? 

A: Yes, but the task will not be easy. There are rights the surviving spouse has. Sadly, you are not automatically entitled to inherit your parents’ assets. Step-parent arrangements may be one of the most challenging and least understood aspects of Trust and Will law. Many different scenarios can play out due to people not having a solid estate plan at the outset or not discussing financial matters that tend to cause tension in marriages. 

It is necessary to identify how an asset is owned before determining whether you can contest its transfer to a step-parent. For instance, assets owned by your parent and step-parent jointly will be transferred automatically to the step-parent. Probate is not needed, and the assets are not subject to a trust or will-they pass according to California law. 

Even though joint tenancy assets can be challenged, it is usually much harder than contesting a trust. Providing convincing evidence is somewhat difficult. Thus, it is not easy to challenge a step-parent to take over a property. 

To contest the entire Will or Trust, you need a valid reason. One must prove that the testator had no mental capacity or was coerced into making changes (such as altering their estate distribution) or that the Will or trust didn’t meet state regulations and is thus not legal.  In a trust, there is a trustee or co-trustee’s, and an executor for the Will

Stepmother rights 

Q: Dad died without a Will. Will my stepmother get everything? 

A: If your loved one dies without a legally valid Will in place, then this is known as dying intestate. In these cases, it is vital to be mindful of the rules of intestacy, which applies no matter what your convictions are about how someone would have wanted their property to be distributed after their passing. 

These rules indicate who should assume responsibility for the management of his Estate and what beneficiaries are entitled to receive. The rules place relatives in strict order of priority, and in this case, your father’s wife will be top of the list. She will inherit most of your father’s assets. Generally, the percentage of her inheritance is the majority of or all of the Estate, depending on several factors, including whether your father had children with her. 

These stories underscore the need for people to look into comprehensive estate planning for the sake of their loved ones. Seek legal counsel when making a Will or Trust so that it fully reflects your intentions. Through proper planning, fathers can ensure that their second wives are taken off and still have enough reserved for their biological children. 

If you feel alienated by your father’s Will or Trust and you suspect foul play as a child, you can work with an experienced probate attorney to contest the Will. Call Hess-Verdon at (949) 706-7300.

Why Choose Hess-Verdon & Associates

Hess-Verdon is in Newport Beach. We have 30 years’ experience in estate planning law. We have helped many clients protect their estate, grow their estate, and pass it down to their loved ones through various legal instruments.

Our estate lawyers can help you administer or contest a trust or will. We also have expertise in business law and elder abuse law. Expect personalized services that put you in control. Contact us today at 888-318-4430

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My Father Left Everything To My Stepmother. Contest?

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With over thirty years of experience in successfully handling all types of trust and estate cases, we can rightfully say that we are the best trust litigation attorneys in Orange County. Here at Hess-Verdon &Associates, we are known for our aggressive legal representation, which has helped us obtain our clients’ best outcomes. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff works hard to enforce the rights of a trustee. Let us make your job a bit easier.

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