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

UPDATED: Mar 25, 2015

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 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.

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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