What are my right to my late mother’s estate?

My mom passed a few months ago and I live next door on her land. My older sisters sold her car, took out all the money out of her bank account, took what they wanted out of her house, plus some cash that was found, and one sister let her son move into house. Now they are trying to make me move so thay can sell the land. We haven’t even gone to probate. Can they do this? My died did not have a Will.

Asked on March 28, 2014 under Estate Planning, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, they CAN'T do this, unless they owned the property jointly with your mother (e.g. were on a joint bank account; were a title holder of the car; owned the land/house jointly, etc.), in which case the property would typically pass directly to them (as the surviving joint owner) without probate.  However, as to any property which they did *not* jointly own, it is NOT theirs: rather, it is still  the estate's property, until it is distributed to the heirs; and under intestate succession (the rules that govern when there is no will), all children are treated equally and get equal shares, so they cannot simply appropriate her property for themselves. You should retain an attorney (a trusts and estates or probate lawyer) to help you.

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