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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 36588
Experience:  16 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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My mother-in-laws brother died and she is trying to find out

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My mother-in-law's brother died and she is trying to find out if he left her anything. We have called the county probate court and they said there is no will on file. We suspect there may be funny business for several reasons.

1. The family made it a point not to let her know about the death
2. The family (seemingly purposely) gave the wrong state as her address in his obituary
2. He repeatedly promised her something and specifically told her to contact the court in the event of his death to get a copt of his will
3. He added her to a bank account that was mysteriously closed a few months before his death

He died in January 2013, so would the assets have already been distributed? If so could she still have recourse? (He died in Clark County Las Vagas)

Even if there is not will, are his verbal promises to her a grounds for her to file a claim on the estate?

What steps should she take to get her (potential) share and protect her interests in this situation?

Thank you
Hello and welcome! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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Did she check with the Probate court clerk to see if anyone had filed to open a probate case in the county where he lived?
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, all she did was ask if a will was on file & they said no.

Ok, first, she needs to check to see if anyone has actually filed a petition to open a probate case to settle his estate.
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If he had assets that were titled to him only, like vehicles, bank accounts, or real estate, then someone would have to file a probate case so that those assets could be transferred to the beneficiaries named in his will or to his heirs at law.
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If a probate case has been filed, then she could get copies of the files and anything in it because they are public records.
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If no case has been filed, then she could file a petition herself to be appointed Administrator to settle his estate. This would allow her to take control over any assets he has left and then settle his estate according to any will she finds or under default state law.
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But to answer your questions directly...
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He died in January 2013, so would the assets have already been distributed?
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It is possible because NV only has a creditor claims period of either 60 or 90 days depending on the value of the estate. So if someone had filed a probate case and paid all creditors, then they could have distributed the assets and closed the estate by now.
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Even if there is not will, are his verbal promises to her a grounds for her to file a claim on the estate?
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No, to put it very simply...if it isn't in writing in a will, then it doesn't count. A person's intentions don't legally give rise to a cause of action. It is what they actually do that counts.
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Thanks
Barrister
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