Ask a Lawyer and Get Answers to Your Legal Questions
Hi, I will be happy to assist you, and it is my goal to make you a very satisfied customer! This may take a few minutes, so thanks for your patience.
You would need to open a probate estate for your father and have yourself or someone else appointed as representative of his estate. After that, you would need to sue your stepmother's estate based on her breach of fiduciary duty to invalidate the deed transferring the property to her. An agent under a power of attorney owes duties of loyalty and good faith (fiduciary duties). If an agent acts in her own best interest (as the case here where she engaged in self-dealing in her own best interest and not the best interest of your father), that agent's action is invalid. Unfortunately, you need a court order to determine that the actin is invalid so that the deed can be invalidated and the property brought back into your father's estate. And, unfortunately, you need to open a probate estate for your father to do that because the estate is the only person with legal standing to bring such a lawsuit. Since this type of case involves estate law complexities, it would be best to retain a local attorney to assist you with the actions that will be necessary to get the property back. www.martindale.com and www.findlaw.com (in addition to your state's bar association lawyer referral service) are good resources for locating a local attorney that could assist you. You want an estate/probate/real estate attorney.
I'm sorry, if your father is still alive, you do not need to open an estate for him. You can simply use your authority as agent under his power of attorney to bring a lawsuit against your stepmother's estate.
This system sometimes doesn't work quite right, so to ensure you've seen my answer, I'm switching over to a different format than chat. If you need additional assistance after reviewing your answer just let me know. Thanks.
How would I go about instituting this suit? and does the fact that she left no will affect what I need to do?