How do I find out if I am an heir?

Asked about 2 years ago - Commerce Twp, MI

My grandmother died about a year ago. The last I heard form her she had left a amount to each of her grandchildren. Do not know if she had a will, or trust. When she died my mother the executor said that her mother changed everything right before she died. Honestly can't be sure she is telling the truth. I was wondering how I could find out how to and where to seek the truth. I believe my grandmother would never exclude her grandchildren, and that my mother is not being honest, she also stated to me she has control, and could f@@k her brother and sister as she wants. Therefore I believe she is doing the same to all involved. And she says she can not report the death or close the estate for a year, due to the fact that my grandmother had many mortgages in her name for family, so has to wait

Additional information

Wait because she says that after one year the estate will not have to pay off those mortgages.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . There are a number of different considerations, here, and you either have not posted or do not know enough information to determine if what your mother is telling you is true and/or whether or not you have any basis for making a claim.

    You are not an heir, at least, not as that term is defined under Michigan law, because your mother survived you, as well as apparently your aunt and uncle. The three of them (and any other siblings, or surviving children of deceased siblings) would be heirs. Heirs, in this sense, means those people who would be in line to inherit property, in the absence of any Will or Trust.

    What it SOUNDS like may have happened in this case is that your grandmother may have transferred title to all of her assets to your mother, either by joint ownership, beneficiary designation or in some other manner. If that was not the case, then your mother would have no way of denying her siblings their share of the assets.

    Since this was apparently changed shortly before your grandmother's death, you would need to know if your grandmother was of sound mind when the changes were made, or if she might have been subject to undue influence by your mother. This is not easy to prove, and there would need to be some strong evidence, such as medical records, testimony of witnesses, and the like, in order to overcome the presumption that everything was handled correctly. It would be even more difficult if the estate planning was done through an attorney, who would presumably testify against you, and state that this was all done based on your grandmother's intent.

    Without knowing more, there is no way to proceed with any confidence. Your mother's comments about creditors and mortgages may be red herrings, but they certainly do not make a lot of sense, without knowing more about the context. It is unclear how the title to the assets was/is held. You may be able to determine this, based on public records, depending on the nature of the assets involved. (You can search online records in relation to real estate, for example.) You may also be able to get some information from your grandmother's attorney, if she had one, but he or she may be unwilling to share much, particularly if your mother has hired the attorney to represent her, with regard to administering whatever needs to be administered of your grandmother's estate, trust or otherwise.

    You have a tricky situation and your mother would appear to be holding most of the good cards, at the moment.

    James Frederick

    I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice... more
  2. Peter L. Conway

    Contributor Level 16

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Mr. Frederick has given you good advice.
    You mention that the estate is open. Have you reviewed the file in the probate court? Can you ask your mother about seeing the will or trust?
    A lawyer may be able to get more information than you can because of the knowledge and persistence of the lawyer, so you may want to hire one to assist you.

    I am licensed to practice law in Michigan and Virginia. My office is in Lapeer. You should not rely on this... more
  3. David L. Carrier

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    Answered . Q: How do I find out if I am an heir?
    A: Go to the probate court for the county in which your GM died and find out if an estate has been opened.
    Q: "I believe my grandmother would never exclude her grandchildren"
    A: My experience is that grandparents seldom include bequests to grandchildren
    Q: "she also stated to me she has control, and could f@@k her brother and sister as she wants"
    A: I hope you take after your father.
    Q: "And she says she can not report the death or close the estate for a year, due to the fact that my grandmother had many mortgages in her name for family, so has to wait "
    A: Your mother has been watching too much daytime TV.

    Get a real lawyer who can get to the bottom of this.

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