If your father died intestate - without a will or a trust - then you are probably his sole heir. Hire a firm to search for his assets and if he had any, you may want to open a probate case. If you open the case, you'll have to give notice to his brother. If he had a will or a trust, he is allowed to disinherit you. You may find this link helpful: http://www.californiaprobatelawyerblog.com/2010/06/can_i_get_a_copy_of_a_living_t.html
Mr. Port is absolutely correct. In addition, if California is like Texas, there will be public records (available on the internet) that should tell you if some sort of probate action was started by anyone.
Hope this helps. If you think this post was helpful, please check the asnwer was a good answer tab below. Thanks. Mr. Geffen is licensed to practice law throughout the state of Texas with an office in Dallas. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States and is licensed to practice in US Tax Court as well as The Court of Claims. This answer is provided as a public service and as a general response to a general question, it is not meant, and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.
I am not sure why your uncle (or aunt) would be entitled to any notice, if you open an estate, since they would not be heirs, but that is a side-issue.
As Attorney Port pointed out, you CAN be disinherited, in a number of ways. A Will is the method that most people assume. But you can also be disinherited if your father left all of his assets to someone else by way of joint property or by designating them as beneficiary.
I believe that your FIRST step should be to try to find out more about your father's assets. You can often find out a great deal online, for free or at very nominal cost. You can check how his real estate was owned, for example. That may give you a clue. If the property was held in joint names, it would not be subject to probate and it would not be affected by the terms of any Will or Trust. If the property was held by a trust, the Deed TO the trust would generally give you the name of the trust attorney. You could then contact the attorney to find out more information.
Once you know how title was held, you will have enough information to consult with a probate attorney.
You can also check the probate files to see if a Will has been found. Given that it has only been a couple weeks, it is unlikely that has occurred.
Best of luck to you!
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