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Dear Dr. Don,
My father died in Illinois back in 1962. Being the oldest of four children, I was expecting after the recent death of our mother that I would inherit an equal share of the estate. What am I legally entitled to upon her death?

Thank you,
— Bob Bounty

Dear Bob,
Certainly I try to help our readers with advice whenever I can. But there are times when a professional is needed to step in.

An attorney is the expert to consult on this. You can review her state of residence’s intestacy laws to get more information about your potential standing. Surviving spouses and blood relatives are typically beneficiaries under these circumstances.

Did your mother die intestate, or without a will? If a will did exist and she chose not to treat her children equally, under most circumstances that would be it. If she died intestate, then it’s more likely that you would be treated equally among your siblings, depending on whether your late mother remarried.

If you understandably feel slighted about the handling of your mother’s estate, that’s something we can’t fix here. My best advice is for you to pay for a few hours of an attorney’s time to find out if you have a legitimate claim to the estate.

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