Temecula, CA asked in Probate for California

Q: A mobile home on ten acres is inherited by 4 people. I currently lives in the property and am one of the 4.

I have suddenly been presented with a lease which the other 3 say I must sign, and the property is in probate. I haven’t even seen any documentation which says they are now part owners. Is this legal, and How do I get them to provide documentation?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Bruce Adrian Last
Bruce Adrian Last
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Pleasant Hill, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Dear Temecula:

First, if you are one of the four owners (read on below about that), you would be a tenant in common. While the others can ask that you sign a lease, they cannot require it as each tenant in common has a right to occupy the property. But, be careful, without a lease or rental agreement you can not claim exclusive occupancy rights against the other owners.

You mentioned that the property is in probate. If an order distributing the property to the four owners has not been issued by the court, and title transferred, on the court appointed administrator or executor has the ability to make decisions about the property. If you are one of the four heirs or beneficiaries, you should have gotten notice of the hearing that would have resulted in the order.

It sounds like something is not quite right from your description. I recommend that you discuss this matter with an attorney right away and before you take any action. If you are, or will end up as, a co-owner, you and your partners should also have a tenancy in common agreement to set out your rights and responsibilities, as the default rules are not particularly good. The attorney can help you with this too.

If you do not know where to find an attorney, you can start with your local county bar association. Most county bar associations provide an attorney referral service where, for a small or no fee, you receive a consultation with a qualified attorney.

Good luck.

Bill Sweeney agrees with this answer

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