What to do if my father’s Will gave 25% of his estate to my brother and 75% to me but I don’t know if my brother is deceased?

UPDATED: May 28, 2012

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What to do if my father’s Will gave 25% of his estate to my brother and 75% to me but I don’t know if my brother is deceased?

I want to try to get 2 houses in my name. What do I petition for – probate of Will and for letters testamentary only?

Asked on May 28, 2012 under Estate Planning, California


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Are you the named executor in the Will?  Then you would petition the Probate Court to be appointed as the executor of the estate by submitting a probate petition to the court.  You are going to have to give notice to those that would inherit - like your brother - and you are going to run in to problems unless you resolve the issue of his whereabouts.  I would urge you to get legal help becuase if you transfer assets to your name only when he is entitled to a share you will breaching your fiduciary duty and that could mena big trouble for you.  Good luck.

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