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.
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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.
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