Thank you. When a person dies intestate, which means "without a will," any property or assets goes to the next of kin. However, the home and other assets may or may not have to go through "probate" in order for everything to legally change hands. The California Probate Code provides that probate estates of less than $100,000 do not need to be probated. In some cases, the total estate may be considerably larger than $100,000, but the small estate law can still be used. The reason is that many assets are not defined as probate assets, such as life insurance (unless it was payable to the estate), IRAs, 401Ks, assets held by a living trust, and joint tenancy assets. The $100,000 amount is calculated by totaling all of the probate assets owned by the decedents (your grandparents).
Now, if your grandmother owed social security money, they would be considered a "creditor" of the estate. If the estate does have to be probated, then they would file a claim against the estate and could force the sale of the home. The problem here is that your father is the legal heir. Someone should alert him as to his inheritance of the property. If he does nothing or is not interested, the property may then pass to the next of kin, which would be any living brothers or sister of your grandparents, and if none, then to the grandchildren. If you are simply concerned about your brother living there, you can report his trespassing to the police, but the police may not end up doing anything because this is really a civil matter. You can always report the death of your grandmother to social security so that they can begin the process of filing a claim and conducting a forced sale of the home. You can reach them at 1-800-772-1213. Please just let me know if you have any more questions. If not, please don't forget to click on the green accept button in the answer box so that I can receive credit for helping you. It is the only way I can receive compensation for my time and it will charge you nothing further to press accept. Thanks so much.