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How do I found out what is held in an estate when no information is being provided by another heir?

Seattle, WA |

My mother died without will, in Washington State, leaving my brother and I as sole successors. He lives nearby and has taken possession of all her belongings, bank passbooks, papers, etc. Assuming the estate will not go to probate, how can I discover what money, insurances, etc, I am entitled to half of, when the brother will provide no information? I anticipate having to file a Affidavit for Distribution of Decedents Property with the relevant Washington State authority. (I am living outside of the US, making queries and phone calls difficult and expensive).

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

You should spend the money necessary to consult with and retain a local probate attorney to protect your rights in the estate. Your brother should not be taking possession of the estate without establishing himself as the administrator with the probate court.

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You should probably start a Probate proceeding to make sure the estate is disbursed fairly.

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I agree with the other statements, you should likley hire counsel to open a probate proceeding which will give you the authroity to gather the assets of the estate and use the court's authority where your brother will not work with you. Unfortunatally this sort of situation is too common.


In some circumstances, small estates can be distributed in accord with the parent's wishes cooperatively, equitably, and without controversy. The fact that your sibling has taken possession of all financial records and belongings without giving you any information is a red flag. Probate is not difficult in Washington, and can give you more peace of mind. I suggest you consult a Washington lawyer to give you more detailed advice based on additional facts you will need to provide.

Karl Flaccus

This information is intended as general information only, and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please seek particular advice from an attorney.