How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dwayne B. Your Own Question
Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33380
Experience:  Estate Law Expert
11068102
Type Your Estate Law Question Here...
Dwayne B. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

MY AUNT DIED IN CALIFORNIA IN 1990. HER WILL WAS PROBATED.

Customer Question

MY AUNT DIED IN CALIFORNIA IN 1990. HER WILL WAS PROBATED. TWENTY-FIVE YEARS LATER, I WAS CONTACTED BY AN "ASSET RECOVERY SPECIALIST" FOR ASSETS DISCOVERED BY THEM ON MY AUNT. I REQUESTED AND RECEIVED COPIES OF THE PROBATE DOCUMENTS, AND THE WILL. I DISCOVERED THAT THE WILL IS "NOT SIGNED."
MY AUNT DID NOT HAVE CHILDREN NOR SPOUSE. ALL OF MY AUNT'S SIBLINGS ARE DECEASED, WHICH MY AUNT IS MY FATHER'S SISTER. ANOTHER SIBLING CHILDREN RECEIVED ALL OF THE ASSETS, THERE WERE SEVEN NEICES AND NEPHEWS, ONLY TWO ARE LIVING. WHO HAS THE RIGHTS TO THE ASSETS NOW? ONLY ME, OR DO ALL SIX OF MY AUNT'S SIBLINGS, THIER LIVING CHILDREN, HAVE RIGHTS TO THE ASSETS? IF ONLY ME, OR THE OTHER LIVING SIBLINGS CHILDREN OR THEIR HEIRS, THEN I WILL NEED REPRESENTATION TO ACQUIRE THE ASSETS. I AM IN TEXAS. THANK YOU!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

My name is***** have over 16 years experience in the law. Should you like to chat on the phone I am happy to for a nominal cost. Let me know at any time during our question and answer session if you are interested I am happy to give you more details.

I want to make sure I understand the facts, can you verify there was no valid will (the only copy was unsigned)?

Also, what do you mean by
ANOTHER SIBLING CHILDREN RECEIVED ALL OF THE ASSETS,
So one person received the entire estate? What was their relationship to the aunt?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
THE PROBATE COURT SENT ME THE COPY OF THE "UNSIGNED WILL" FROM THEIR FILES, ALONG WITH OTHER DOCUMENTS. SO YES, THE CLERK CAN VERIFY THE UNSIGNED WILL. MY AUNT HAD SIX BROTHERS AND SISTERS, SEVEN WITH HER. ONE SISTER CHILDREN, WHICH WAS SEVEN, RECEIVED ALL OF MY AUNT'S ESTATE. THE SEVEN CHILDREN ARE MY AUNT'S NIECES AND NEPHEWS. I AM ALSO A NEPHEW, MY FATHER IS MY AUNT'S BROTHER.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

Thanks
So what is your question today? Are you asking who gets what in CA if there is no will?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
AN ASSET RECOVERY SPECIALIST CONTACTED ME ABOUT ASSETS THEY FOUND FROM MY AUNT. MY QUESTION IS WHO IS ENTITLED TO THE ASSETS THAT WAS JUST RECENTLY DISCOVERED SINCE THERE WAS NO SIGNED WILL BY MY AUNT. MY AUNT WAS NOT MARRIED, NOR DID SHE HAVE ANY CHILDREN. AGAIN, HE PROBATE CLERK IN CALIFORNIA SENT ME DOCUMENTS FROM THIER RECORDS AT WHICH TIME I DISCOVERED THE UNSIGNED WILL IN THE PROBATE CLERK'S RECORDS. I AM NOT TRYING TO UNDO THE PROBATE OF MY AUNT'S PROBATE. I AM ONLY TRYING TO SEE WHO IS ENTITLED TO THE RECENTLY FOUND ASSETS SINCE THE WILL WAS NOT SIGNED, HOWEVER, THE WILL WENT THROUGH THE PROBATE COURT PROCEEDINGS, UNSIGNED, NOW THAT I DISCOVERED THE UNSIGNED WILL.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

It looks like the other expert opted out so I thought I would try to assist.

The "recently found assets" will pass according to the terms of the probated will, assuming it was actually admitted to probate and recognized as the will which would be unusual if it is not signed. Just because the unsigned will was in the court's file doesn't mean it was recognized by the court as "the will" and that the assets were distributed according to the terms of the will.

If it was not, then what likely happened is the court distributed the assets according to what is known as "intestate succession" which is a list of heirs determined by statute and is used when no valid will exists. If that is the method that was actually used then these new assets would be distributed the same way.

Both of these options, which are the only two possibilities raised by your facts, are assuming that no one tries to go back and challenge the probate at this point.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
THE ASSETS WERE DISTRIBUTED ACCORDING TO THE "UNSIGNED WILL." SO, WOULD THE UNSIGNED WILL, IF THAT IS THE ONLY WILL ON FILE, INVALIDATE THE COURT'S RULING ON THE WILL? WOULD YOU PLEASE LIST THE HEIRS, BY THEIR TITLE, PURSUANT TO THE "INTESTATE SUCCESSION" STATUTE, AS IF THERE IS NO "VALID WILL?"
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

No, if the court ruled that the will was valid then the will wouldn't invalidate the ruling. It might be challengeable, but there are issues since it has been so long since the probate was completed.

Rather than listing out the intestate heirs let me give you a link to a web page with a chart on it:

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/intestate-succession-california.html

I don't think the heirs have changed since 1990 but I don't have access to the codes going back that far. Also note that the heirs would have been determined at the time of your aunt's death. Any deaths since then would only affect where that person's share goes, it doesn't affect how it would have been distributed at the original probate if the intestate succession would have been used.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.

Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I WAS IMPRESSED WITH THE HANDLING OF MY QUESTIONS. HOWEVER, P.SIMMONS INITIATED ANSWERING MY QUESTIONS. MR.DWAYNE B. PICKED UP WHERE P.SIMMONS STOPPED, IN A TIMELY MANNER. ALL IS WELL! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICES! IF I EVER HAVE ANOTHER CONCERN, I WILL CONTACT YOU.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Best wishes to you and please don't forget to leave a Positive Rating (of course I’d suggest Excellent!) so I receive credit for my work.