What to do if my mother died intestate but my stepfather has not allowed my siblings and I to retrieve any of her belongings other than clothing and pictures?

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What to do if my mother died intestate but my stepfather has not allowed my siblings and I to retrieve any of her belongings other than clothing and pictures?

His name was not on the deed. However, he is still living there and all utilities are still in her name. He was appointed as Administrator about 9 months ago but to date, has not handled any of her business affairs, as some of her creditors are now calling me, looking for her. He also refuses to allow us to access her laptop, to look for a Will. Nor, will he file a petition to open her safety deposit box, to see if she may have had a Will at her bank. What are our legal rights, if any, as her heirs, to her belongings in the house or the house itself?

Asked on April 14, 2013 under Estate Planning, Georgia

Answers:

Paula McGill / Paula J. McGill, Attorney at Law

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortuantely, your mother made a mistake by not having a third party (often an attorney) keep the will (if one exists).   Many people make that mistake. They also fail to let beneficiaries know who has possession of the will in case of their death. The intestate estate is divided among the surviving spouse and children. 

Although your stepfather has the right to a year's support and a percentage of the estate, there are laws he has to follow regarding collecting your mother assets, paying her liabilities, and distributing the net assets.  You should retain local experienced counsel to advise on your stepfather's actions and your rights.

 

 

Victor Waid / Law Office of Victor Waid

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You need to obtain probate legal counsel to file a petition to have the step father removed and yourself appointed administrator, as he appears to have no right to any interest in the estate since his name was not on any deed to the property; he can make a claim for a widower portion of the estate. DONOTDELAY


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