I am the only child my father passed away. There is speculation that my father and the current wife are divorced. Due to him having to apply for social security(SSDI) and VA benefits. I have searched the county where they lived for the divorce record but no luck. The wife in question refuse to open probate. My father has two homes: one with his name only on the deed paid for(it was his mothers) and the other has his and her name on the deed but his name only on the mortgage, cars(not joint), and a couple of bank accounts(not joint no POD). The wife in question has closed an account without the proper paper work. She has also sold a car that was solely owned by him. At what point can I file probate on this estate? It will be a year since his death in a few months.
I know I need an attorney but I'm a single mom with two disabled children, I'm trying to do as much as I can on my own.
Thank you in advance
Whatever you do, and you HAVE waited longer than you should have, you need to consult with a lawyer IMMEDIATELY. As mistakes in strategy and filing will be expensive,and mayget you sued, yiu CANNOT afford to do as much as you can on your own - that's an absolute no.
Give the details to a lawyer. I suspect, after research, he'll file a temporary or regular administration. In that case, it will be possible to find out what property and debts are in the estate, if there's a will, if there's a divorce, etc. Some of this may be determined by a lawyer before filing as they will know how to look. But delay is also your enemy. In waiting, you may lose assets you have a claim to,or increase the cost of pursuing the claim.
If my answer does help you, please consider marking it helpful, or a best answer. In answering your question I am basing my answer on the limited information here, and more information is likely needed to properly and fully answer, but hopefully the answer helps. Please know that in answering I am not your lawyer and am only providing general information. To retain a lawyer you need to enter into a written retainer with the lawyer (and you have not hired me simply because I answered something here). AVVO has useful tools to contact the lawyers you see on AVVO. Please be aware I am licensed only in Georgia, so an answer in another state may be different. You should not rely on online questions as a final legal answer or a "how to" and need to sit down with a lawyer to get an answer to safely rely on. Many legal cases have vital deadlines that you may miss with delay, so please be aware of that. Now here's the "legalese" we lawyers need to add: Please do not construe anything here to make you a client of Glen Ashman. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice (and only applies in Georgia). There is no right to rely on the information contained in this answer and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing here is tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. If the contents of this answer discuss debts or bankruptcy, this office is required to advise the recipient that the US Congress has designated our office as a debt relief agency that assists people in filing bankruptcy.
You could already have filed something in probate court regarding your father's estate, and should have. Please do listen to Mr. Ashman, however, and don't try to do anything on your own. That's dangerous even in a really simple estate where no one is arguing. You don't have that situation; you have a situation where someone is refusing to cooperate and may be stealing assets. Not having an attorney in a case like that is likely going to cost you more than having one will. Best wishes to you.
This answer is not intended to provide you with specific legal advice regarding your situation, or to create any attorney-client relationship. The intent is only to provide general information. You should be aware that you cannot rely on this answer to provide you with any protection against tax penalties. You should always consult your own attorney in order to obtain legal advice.
You are unclear as to if your father had a will. If he had a will and if you have the original will or a copy of his will, you may be able to file a petition with the Probate Court to have his will probated. If he did not have a will, you would need to consider filing a petition to be appointed administrator of his estate. You should talk with an attorney who handles estate matters and probate work to ascertain what action, if any, you can initiate.
Sign up to receive a 10-part series of useful information and legal advice about the divorce process.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.
Years licensed, work experience, education
Peer endorsements, associations, awards
Publications, speaking engagements