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My father passed away in California about 2 weeks ago, I am 25 y/o his only child, can I still inherit?

Cedar Creek, TX |

Don't know if he had a will or trust. He wasn't married at the time, I found out about his death in facebook. I was not notified by his brother. Could he disinherited me? do I have any legal recourse? He sold real estate in CA, and I know he was well off. Do I have the lagal right to ask for his will or copy of the trust? He is survived by a brother and sister. I am his only child

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Attorney answers 3


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:


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!

James Frederick

*** 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.

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