As a sole survivor of someone who died 18 months ago without a Will, do I have a claim on the estate or is it too late?

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As a sole survivor of someone who died 18 months ago without a Will, do I have a claim on the estate or is it too late?

I just found out today that my uncle passed away a year and and 6 months ago. He was a recluse and had no contact with me although I made attempts to contact him. I was the only next of kin. He left no Will. There was no probate. His house in WA is no longer in his name. There was a special warranty deed made a year after his death. The grantor named was a personal representative for the estate and confirmed his own wife as owner of the estate. Do I have any claim to the estate or is it too late to pursue it? I live in CA and did not learn of his death until today.

Asked on July 29, 2011 California

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  How did you find out now? Did the executor know of you and your existence and your whereabouts?  Listen, I think that it is always a good thing to try.  And I do have to tell you that the actions of the executor here leave me suspecting.  The fact that he granted the house to the wife I mean.  When a person is the executor of an estate it is their responsibility to try and find beneficiaries but the court does not require that they go crazy doing so.  As long as they show the court that they made reasonable efforts and did do diligence then they are permitted to proceed.  You need to hire an attorney in Washington and go and take a look at the proceeding to see if it is possible to do anything.  Good luck.

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  How did you find out now? Did the executor know of you and your existence and your whereabouts?  Listen, I think that it is always a good thing to try.  And I do have to tell you that the actions of the executor here leave me suspecting.  The fact that he granted the house to the wife I mean.  When a person is the executor of an estate it is their responsibility to try and find beneficiaries but the court does not require that they go crazy doing so.  As long as they show the court that they made reasonable efforts and did do diligence then they are permitted to proceed.  You need to hire an attorney in Washington and go and take a look at the proceeding to see if it is possible to do anything.  Good luck.


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