What options do I have with my mother’s estate if it has not been probated in the 5 years since she died?

She did not have a Will. So my siblings and I get the estate. I moved into the house shortly after her passing. My siblings have not done anything with the estate including checking account (which is in my name) and house. They are just now talking about putting the estate through probate and they then want to sell me the house for an inflated market value. What options do I have? Is there a certain time frame if nothing was done that the property becomes mine because I am in possession of it?

Asked on October 11, 2011 under Estate Planning, North Dakota

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  The theory of law that I think that you are alluding to is known as adverse possession, which is occupying a piece of land or property adverse to others claim of right.  There are a whole bunch of factors that need to be looked at but the time frame seems to be between 10 and 20 years, depending.  So here you have not met that threshold.  But honestly I do not think that you would have much luck claiming it either.  Can the estate be probated now?  Yes it can.  I would tread very lightly here as well since you have your name on funds that are not yours.  I think that you should speak with an attorney about the matter.  Have you been paying upkeep, utilities, taxes, etc., with your funds or with money from your mother's account?  There could be a set off here.  They have a right to sell as much as you have a right to keep it.  Get help.  Good luck. 


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