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what can i do if i think my step mom is not going by my dads last wishes?

1 Answers. Asked on Mar 02nd, 2017 on Trusts and Estates - California
More details to this question:
my stepmom and I have NEVER gotten a long and they were married for 30+ yrs. She hasn't and wont talk to me in fact she didn't even tell me he passed. I want to stop her from selling or getting rid of anything of my dads until she talks to me, is that possible? my dad and I talked about it many times and im suppose to get his truck and I don't think she will follow through with that.
Answers Showing 1 out of 1
Ms. Maryellen Sullivan, Esq. at Law Office of Mark Standen, LLC
Licenced in ME
Answered on Mar 03rd, 2017 at 7:52 AM

This sounds like a difficult situation.  I am sorry for your loss.

If your dad owned any assets just in his name (in other words, not owned jointly with his wife, or in a trust) and that do not have named beneficiaries (such as retirement funds or pay-on-death designated accounts), then his wife will need to be appointed personal representative of his estate by the probate court in order to control those assets.  As your father's heir, you have the right to receive notice of probate proceedings.  You can contest her appointment, seek to be appointed instead of her, or ask the court to oversee her actions.  If she doesn't provide you with information or takes any actions contrary to your father's Will or the law, you can seek to have her removed or have the court order her to act. 

As far as the truck, if your dad wrote in his Will that you get the truck, then she will be obligated to transfer ownership to you or subject to a court order to do so if she fails to do it.  But if it is just something that your dad said to you, she is under no legal obligation to transfer ownership of the truck to you.  Last wishes are not legal obligations and, in that case, you woudl have to rely on your stepmom's willingess to honor them, which is more likely to happen if you are super nice to her than if you bring a court challenge.   If your dad did not leave a Will, his wife is entitled to all of his community property and a third of the assets in just his name.  You and your siblings (if any) are entitled to the remaining two-thirds - again, of assets just in his name that are not considered community assets - pursuant to California's law of intestacy.  You can find more information at nolo.com. Good luck. 

 

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