My sister Anne has passed away. Anne has 2 sisters one of which she supported (Tracy and her husband moved in with Anne). I'm the other sister, Joyce, and don't have a copy of the Will & do NOT know the ATTY that wrote it. Tracy's saying "This is my house & my Will & I'm NOT probating the Will & NOT sharing the Will information with you!". This is her usual behavior. I can't afford an atty, is there something I can do? If Tracy is getting the house doesn't she HAVE to probate the Will? I'm afraid she's tampered with or changed the Will, as well.
Estate Planning Attorney
Well, whether probate is necessary depends on how your deceased sister owned her home. If it is owned "jointly" with Tracy or in a Trust then, likely, she does not need to probate the home. However, if it was solely in Anne's name then it is a different story.
You will need to check the records with the Recorder of Deeds in the county which the home was located to determine the current owner. You should be able to do this on your own. Depending on what you find you may need a local probate attorney to assist you. But, first things first.
Legal Disclaimer: Paul A. Smolinski is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois only, and as such, his answers to AVVO inquiries are based on his understanding of Illinois law only. His answers are for general information about perceived legal issues within this question only and no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to extend any right of confidentiality between you and Mr. Smolinski, to constitute legal advice, or create an attorney/client or other contractual relationship. An attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement including an evaluation of the specific legal problem and review of all the facts and documents at issue. We try to insure the accuracy of this information, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy. The reader should never assume that this information applies to his or her specific situation or constitutes legal advice. Therefore, please consult competent counsel that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances.
Estate Planning Attorney
I agree with Attorney Smolinski. If the title of the property is in Anne's name alone, then your sister will need to go through probate. If the Will does not say that she gets the property, then you and she would own it jointly, (assuming you do not have surviving parents and Ann had no children. Assuming that Anne is not going to cooperate with you on this, which seems obvious, then you need to retain an attorney who can help you get to the bottom of this. You are not going to be able to protect your rights, otherwise.
***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!
Estate Planning Attorney
My colleagues are correct. As to the house, the first question is how title as held. The next question has to do with Anne's heirs. Who has survived? Did she have a spouse, domestic partner, children, parents, etc? Depending on your answers, the only way you will be able to protect yourself and your rights is by consulting with local counsel. Good luck.
** LEGAL DISCLAIMER ** My response above is not legal advice and it does not establish an attoreny-client relationship. When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. For specific advice regarding your particular circumstances, you should consult and retain local counsel. For more information, you can reach my office at: ww.EGoldLaw.com or by calling: 818-279-2737.