What to do if my wife’s mom died but her 3 sisters are not sharing info on the mother’s property?

UPDATED: Apr 29, 2013

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What to do if my wife’s mom died but her 3 sisters are not sharing info on the mother’s property?

Is she entitled to a fair share of her mom’s property? If she is entitled, should she contact a lawyer in the town where the property is located or near my wife’s home?

Asked on April 29, 2013 under Estate Planning, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your mother-in-law.

If she left a Will, the Will is controlling as to disposition of her property.  If she did not leave a Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will.

Under intestate succession, if your mother-in-law had a surviving spouse, he would inherit the entire estate.  If there isn't a surviving spouse, then the estate would be divided equally among her surviving children.  If your mother-in-law was predeceased by a child, who has surviving children (your mother-in-law's grandchildren), those grandchildren would inherit their deceased parent's share of the estate.

When you refer to property, if you are referring to real property (land), your wife can look for her mother's name in the records at the County Recorder's Office to obtain information on real property she owned.

If you are referring to personal property (anything other than land), your wife would have to demand an accounting from the executor of the estate whether the executor is one of the sisters or someone else.  Your wife can contact a probate attorney either where she lives or where the property is located.


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