Is there a way to find out if assets my father and mother shared jointly had “rights of survivorship”?

My Mother died some years ago without a Will in a “non community property” state. My father sold off everything and bought another house in another “non-community property” state, remarried, sold that house and eventually moved to a “community property” state and bought property with his new wife. Now my father has died without a Will and the new wife is asking all my father’s children from his first marriage to sign away any rights they have to his property. I don’t wish to do this until after a thorough investigation and accounting of all assets from the onset of my mother’s death.

Asked on November 30, 2011 under Estate Planning, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The first place to start in answering your question is to do research in the county and state where your mother passed away in the county court house to see if there was an intestacy proceeding filed concerning her estate since she passed away without a Will. If there was an intestacy proceeding, then the assets of her estate would be listed. The intestacy action would be a public proceeding where you would be able to obtain copies of the documents you want assuming they exist.

If she had a trust, locating a copy of it will be much harder and you will then need to contact the trustee of it or the attorney that drafted it.


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