What are my rights to a portion of my late father’s estate?

My father died several years ago. His passing was very trying because there was no communication between he and my siblings, not because we didn’t try but because his wife at the time did everything in her power to keep him away from us. He had a total of 5 kids from 3 different women (1 with the surviving wife). A house that I grew up was taken over by her since his passing. His final wishes were never heard and I’m not sure if there was a Will. She cut all ties from the moment he got sick. No one knows anything about anything. I’m mostly interested in the house I grew up in. Do I have a chance of getting the house I grew up in? If so, what are the steps to help me get to that point??

Asked on October 15, 2013 under Estate Planning, California


Nathan Wagner / Law Office of Nathan Wagner

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You should talk to a local probate attorney about your situation, because it could be very complicated. Regarding the house, a good first step is to get a copy of the most recent deed from the county clerk's office. For example, if the deed grants the property to your dad and his wife "with right of survivorship", then the house automatically passed to her when he died (unless you can prove that this deed was invalid, which is difficult to do). If the deed is in his name only, then you have a chance inherit at least a share of the house, depending upon what his will says. 

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