What to do if my father recently passed without a Will?

UPDATED: Mar 16, 2013

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What to do if my father recently passed without a Will?

I have 3 sisters and a half sister and have been told that the property has both my half-sister’s and my dad’s names on it. However, I would like confirmation. Where do I go? Also, there are vehicles in my father’s name only plus personal property. Do my other sisters and I have any rights?

Asked on March 16, 2013 under Estate Planning, Indiana


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There are records in your father's county that will identify the people listed on his property.  In Florida, the "property appraiser's office" gathers this information and posts it online for tax collection purposes.  Search the internet for property tax in your father's state to identify the appropriate government entity that is responsible.  Then search their online records or call them to find out who they have listed as owners.

A branch of the county clerk of court also keeps official records, including deeds to property.  This is sometimes called the "county recorder" and the records are often called the "official records."  In Florida, most of these are available online.  You can view an unofficial copy of the actual deed and that will show exactly who owned the property and how they held title.  I suggest you try to find this in your father's state.

As far as the personal property is concerned, you and your sisters have rights to inherit a portion of the property.  However, enforcing those rights will likely cost much more than the property is worth.  If you cannot work something out with the 1/2 sister, you will probably have to let this go.  As they say, "possession is 9/10 of the law" and that is because the property is usually long gone before you can get through the legal process to reach it.

I am sorry for your loss and wish you an easy success in answering your questions.

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.

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