You should visit a local probate attorney and go over the details. You may be able to open a probate yourself and probate the assets. Then you can deal with the issue regarding the home and other property.
Matthew Johnson phone# 206.747.0313 is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale negotiations, and estate planning in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. The response does not constitute specific legal advice, which would require a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter; rather, it is intended to be general legal information based on the limited information provided by the inquirer; it This response also does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established after a conflict of interest evaluation is completed, your case is accepted, and a fee agreement is signed. Johnson Legal Group, PLLC
Very tough situation. Assuming you can prove all of the allegations, you could open an estate and file a petition with the court to compel a recovery of the assets that he misappropriated. Presumably, the other siblings will side with your brother and fight you on this. It will take a very good probate litigation lawyer to assist you and it is likely to be a long and expensive battle. You could win and then find that your brother has spent all the money and is not collectible. On the other hand, he may have very ample assets and you *may* be able to sue for exemplary damages. In Michigan, someone who converts estate assets can be liable for up to triple damages. If CA has a similar law, (assuming that is where the estate would be), then it could certainly be worth going after. Of course, your damages would apparently be 1/4 of the value of the estate, (since it appears it was split 3 ways and should have been 4).
I would review all of your facts and evidence with a probate litigator to determine whether it makes sense to go forward.
Best of luck to you!
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Your situation sounds very serious. Forgery of a legal document such as a deed is considered a criminal offense in California under the Penal Code. Many Realtors, notaries, loan brokers, and other scam artists have gone to jail for such offenses in recent years due to the real estate housing boom and bust. If a handwriting experts determines the deed was forged, the sale by your oldest brother could be considered a fraudulent conveyance and the entire transaction may be undone. You should immediately consult with an attorney specializing in identity theft, real estate, and/or probate for advice. You may also wish to contact the property crimes division of your local district attorney's office for assistance as well.
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