Q: How do I find out if my stepfather had a will?
My stepfather has been dead since 1977. My Mother died in 2016. She willed her home to me. I am trying to sell the home and now the court wants proof that my stepfather no longer owns half of the property? What do I do? I need a will to prove he left it to my Mother but do not know how to find it.
A: From the facts you provided, I am assuming that your mom and stepfather held title to their home as tenants in common. To find a will, I have seen ads run in legal periodicals inquiring about a will for deceased individuals. You can also check with the Superior Court in the county where your stepfather resided at the time of his death to locate a probate file. If he had a will and if there was a probate, the will would be in the probate file. But this is unlikely. It is very common that there is no probate when the first of a married couple dies.
Arizona law may be of help. If there is no will, Arizona law provides that your stepfather's estate would pass to his spouse provided he had no children by another relationship. A probate or, perhaps, a small estate affidavit could be used to transfer his interest in the home to your mom's estate. If your stepfather did have children by another relationship, you would probably need to probate his estate and this matter would be much more complicated. None of this is something that I recommend you tackle on your own. I strongly recommend hiring a probate attorney to assist you.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.