My mother deeded her house to me through a beneficiary deed...now my brother is taking me to Probate Court to establish himself as a beneficiary and ask for half the money from the sale of the house (it needs repairs and is not ready to sell yet). Is it likely that he will succeed? Do I need an attorney? I looked after my mother for 12 years after her stroke and she wanted me to have the house. There is no other estate except for jewelry which she gave to me and my daughter before she died. My brother had borrowed money from her mulitiple time before her death and she was done with him.
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Arizona
Just got served today...there is no will or trust...her attorney set up the Beneficiary Deed 12 years ago after she recovered from her stroke and voided the previous Trust that she had naming my brother and I as co-beneficiaries.
Dear JACUSTOMER - If you were the beneficiary of the deed the property would not have been part of her estate and gone through probate so I see no basis for your brother's claim unless the deed was defective. If it was prepared by a lawyer I'm quite certain there should be no problem so I'm not certain on what basis the claim is being filed unless your brother is just trying to make trouble. You mother had no duty to give your brother anything and if she gave away the other personal property before death there would be no estate. To be safe I would suggest that you contact an attorney since you can't simply ignore your brother's claim even if it may be frivolous.
Well I'm sure he means to cause trouble as that has been his MO for years. The case is a petition for Formal Adjudication of Intestacy, Determination of Heirs and Appointment of Personal Representative. I assume that he wants to establish himself as a legal Heir and go from there to sue for half the profits from the house sale and the worth of the jewelry and he also said I have to produce her bank accounts to show any money that she may have given me. I'm just a bit stressed out, never been served anything in my life and don't know if I have to start pulling out bank records and all the expenses I paid for my mom's house and medical care.
What he is filing for shouldn't affect your deed. He can file to become the administrator of her estate and have her determined to have died intestate, which she did. The court can determine the heirship as being you and your brother. After all that is done he would have the power to collect the assets of the estate, pay any bills and then distribute the assets to himself and you in equal amounts. Since the estate has no assets he will have nothing to distribute. I would assume that you have had the house transferred into your name but if not you need to do that immediately. It is very simple but I would at least get an attorney do handle it so it is done correctly. I really can't see what he is going to accomplish if he opens an estate and there are no assets.
Yes, I did transfer the house into my name several months ago. This is such a relief as my brother seemed so confident that he had a case and said that he spoke with a legal expert. I do appreciate your help. I can relax for the weekend now.
Yes, I just see nothing he can get from your Mom's property. He would have to show your Mom was mentally incompetent to sign the deed and if it was signed 12 years ago that would be very tough to prove. Thanks for using our service - Dave
25 years practicing attorney
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).