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My father passed on just last month. He didn't leave a will and I would like to know what steps to take to pass it on to my name

San Bernardino, CA |

The only problem is he shares the property with his brother. My uncle and I are not close. Both their names are on the title but my father's name seems to be on there first then his brother's name second. I'd like to know what rights do I have in all this and what legal action should I take before my uncle takes over both houses and can he even do that?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. The first order of business is to determine the title to the real property on your dad's date of death. Until you know that, you cannot assume you are entitled to inherit any real property.

    If your father owned the property as joint tenants with his brother the property passes to his brother by operation of law and you are out of the loop. The result is different if they owned property as tenants in common. There could be other forms of ownership.

    You need to personally consult a probate attorney who can determine the status of title and advise you further regarding your rights once title has been determined.

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  2. The title needs to be examined to determine if it with rights of survivorship or 1/2 ownership.
    If your dad was 1/2 outright owner-you will need a probate attorney to assist you.

    The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


  3. I agree with my colleagues; without looking at the deed, it is impossible to know whether you have any rights to the property. The order of names on the title does not matter. However, for joint tenancy, the order of death does matter. You should take the deed to an attorney for review.

    THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The answer to question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation. Mrs. Cook is licensed to practice law throughout the state of California with offices in San Diego County. She is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States, and is also licensed to practice before the United States Tax Court. IRS CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, please be advised that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used or relied upon, and cannot be used or relied upon, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.


  4. Determine title at County Recorder's office and file a petition to open probate after seeing a competent lawyer.

    Please be advised that this communication is for general public informational use only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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