Does one have to file a Will?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Does one have to file a Will?

My mother, who was preceded in death by my father, passed away a week ago. There are 2 surviving children. She had a POD for her investment account distributed 50/50 between my sister and I. I had TOD on the pink slip of her car, to me and I had added my name to her bank accounts a couple months ago. The only outstanding assets are the contents of the house (no big valued items) and the house itself. The house has a reverse mortgage which has grown to about the value of the home. I came across a will in looking through a filing cabinet. It states a 50/50 split between my sister and I. If we do not want the house (i.e. walk away and let the reverse mortgage company foreclose; so do not transfer title) do we need to do anything with the Will? Would there be any legal ramifications for my sister and I if we just split the contents as discussed with my mother before death and walk away (contact the reverse mortgage company and tell them the house is theirs) and not file the Will and go through the probate process?What if I never found (or knew of) the will, would the lawyer with the original copy ever come forth and force the probate process?

Asked on May 16, 2012 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

Hong Shen / Roberts Law Group

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Most of these assets do not have to be probated, such as the TOD and POD. You need to find who is seleted as the executor and find out whether the will is valid. The state law requires some formality regarding a will. Ordinarily a valid will needs to be probated. This will take care of problems down the road. For example, what if there is a creditor somewhere out there?


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption