What can I do if my mother recently died without a Will and my brother has taken over her residence and possessions?

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What can I do if my mother recently died without a Will and my brother has taken over her residence and possessions?

She suffered from dementia. While my mother was in the hospital, for a broken hip, my brother, who had just been evicted from his home, moved into my mother’s. My mother died. My mother was paying rent, which my brother used her money from her account to pay rent, under her lease. He has changed her locks, we cannot get into her home to go through her things and have an estate sale or obtain personal momentous my mom told each person specifically what they could have. The manager has not changed lease so it is still in mother’s name; he now has his own issues with my brother living there. Can I get an injunction to go in there and take a third of my mother’s property? He threatening to sale or damage item

Asked on March 25, 2015 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

When someone dies without a will, the courts will appoint an administrator to see to the distribution of her assets (her "estate") according to your state's laws of intestate succession (who inherits what when there is no will). The administrator can also, pending distribution of the property, manage the property--such as, if necessary, evicting occupants (like your brother) who have no legal right to be there (which your brother does not). So you need to speak to the administrator, if one has been appointed; or speak to the surrogate or probate or chancery court (it may go by different names) about appointing an administrator, if none has been appointed yet. You may wish to speak with a probate attorney about helping you.


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