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Attorney2
Attorney2, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6550
Experience:  29 Years in General Practice and Estate Planning
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I had talked to you previously about trying to locate a will

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I had talked to you previously about trying to locate a will that I and the family was told repeatedly was completed. He was kicked out of his house almost two years ago and denied access to paperwork and personal property and was almost done (about a month away) with a long drawn out bitter divorce. We know he had a fire proof safe in the house but she is stating that there is no will and thus entitled to everything through intestate rules.
You stated that I could petition for her to produce the will as I had been told repeatedly that I was a beneficiary but we know she is willing to lie to the court as she already denied during the divorce that she forged his name on checks (including a settlement check for $10,000), did not remove $160,000 from their joint accounts without his knowledge or consent before kicking him out. As of now I can not see how/if she has filed anything for probate yet as LA County Wills and Probate will not check at all until after 30 days have passed. I do know however that she is already using a lawyer as yesterday he called that apartment complex the deceased I told them they had to send the deposit check to his mother and not me after the family had previously stated I should have it (should only be about $1000) for cleaning and taking care of everything after they got the belongs they wanted (which there wasn't much as he had to start over with almost nothing and was buying furniture from thrift stores) . The (ex)wife told his family that she would give them some of his belongings but that they would have to wait until she could get to them, despite her sending him a letter stating that she had packed up and moved all his belonging to the garage months before he passed away. I suspect that she is trying to stall the family until she can get the court to appoint her executor and sole beneficiary and then going to try to use the deposit being sent to his mother as the equivalent amount his mother is entitled to in attempt to keep all his belongings.
If the (ex)wife does a spousal property petition and claims the house as part of joint ownership, can she used that to lower the value of his assets and claim it to be less than $150,000 to avoid probate (even if the house if valued around $450-500K and if she had previously stated his belongings were worth another $500K)? If she does to this then what recourse do we have? Can his mother or a sister petition to be the executor, even though they live out of state? If they are given some recourse can they grant his niece to do things on their behalf as she lives in the area, was the family member that was closest to him, and the only one besides myself that knew the circumstances of the divorce, will (as she was also told she was a beneficiary), and his life in general as the rest of family lives in different states? His mother is in her 70s, spending the winter in Florida, and has had several falls/concussions last year. Can we petition the (ex)wife to produce the will if she avoids probate and what is our recourse of she continues to deny its existance? The family is having to pay everything for his cremation and burial while she is claiming all his assets and enjoying the holidays with her boyfriend.
We have a few more days until Wills & Probate will look to see if anything as been files, but I know that we may only have days or weeks to complete certain actions at that point so I want to know what we need to do or start planning for.
I have been sending out requests to estate lawyers requesting if they have information of a will being produced for him, as this in the only recourse I currently have to locate any record of the will but so far have found nothing. I tried to get a full list from the LA and state bar for lawyers in the area as you suggested but it would only give me a list of three randomly selected each time; so I am having to use listings from the yellow pages. Unfortunately I know that I will likely end up contacting her lawyer as a result, which I know will cause the ex(wife) to react very negatively.
There are legal sure directories that each state bar puts together. You can see if you can get a copy. Aside from that just being told you were a beneficiary without any proof is tough. You may wish to hire an Attorney to assist you in any probate filings. There is also Martindale Hubbell for a listing of Attorneys in the area.
This is the link for Martindale Hubbell http://www.martindale.com
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Customer: replied 5 months ago.
If the (ex)wife does a spousal property petition and claims the house as part of joint ownership, can she used that to lower the value of his assets and claim it to be less than $150,000 to avoid probate (even if the house if valued around $450-500K and if she had previously stated his belongings were worth another $500K)? If she does to this then what recourse do we have? Can his mother or a sister petition to be the executor, even though they live out of state? If they are given some recourse can they grant his niece to do things on their behalf as she lives in the area, was the family member that was closest to him, and the only one besides myself that knew the circumstances of the divorce, will (as she was also told she was a beneficiary), and his life in general as the rest of family lives in different states? His mother is in her 70s, spending the winter in Florida, and has had several falls/concussions last year. Can we petition the (ex)wife to produce the will if she avoids probate and what is our recourse of she continues to deny its existance? The family is having to pay everything for his cremation and burial while she is claiming all his assets and enjoying the holidays with her boyfriend.
We have a few more days until Wills & Probate will look to see if anything as been files, but I know that we may only have days or weeks to complete certain actions at that point so I want to know what we need to do or start planning for.
If the family does decide to get a lawyer should it be done by his mother as she is listed as next of kin on his death certificate or can his sister or niece do it themselves or on her behalf.
His mother or any other of his relatives have the standing to take an action with regard to his estate. I would suggest contacting an Attorney that provides free consultations. Thank you.
This a link for Attorneys that provide FREE consultations that can provide answers with regard to the estate and the real property. http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/firm/probate-estate-administration/los-angeles-county/california

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