Trouble Don't Set Up Like Rain
Marcelle Harrison’s mother and step-father, both of whom were Barbadian immigrants, purchased a house in Boston in 1970 for $23K. Her mom died in 2009. Her step-father died without a will two years later.
Now, Harrison and her multi-generation family are being forced to leave the $1 million home because they are not the legal owners. Because her step-father died without a will, his closest living relatives, nieces and nephews who live in Barbados, will inherit his estate. A state representative who lives across the street said “It shocks the conscience to think that this low-income, Barbadian family could be displaced, really out of the blue.”
A few points, some of which I have made before:
1. The legal outcome is correct - under the statute of intestate succession, which applies when there is no will, Harrison has no claim on her step-father’s estate no matter how long he was married to her mother.
2. Thoughtful estate planning is important for everyone, but even more so for second marriages and blended families.