Q: My Grandmother died with no will and her land went to her 3 children, we live in Kansas.
My 2 Aunts signed their rights to my cousin for my Grandmothers land but my mother does not want that. She wants to keep the land in her Mothers name. What can we do to ensure her rights on her Mothers land and for my cousin not to own 2/3rds? Also is it legal for my cousin to own 2/3rds if my mother didn't sign her rights?
A: The three children of a single person who left no will would be her heirs at law. For real estate to be transferred to those three heirs, some type of probate proceeding in court must occur. A petition to probate the estate and for the appointment of an administrator would be the most common probate proceeding. If no probate proceeding was initiated before six months after the date of death had passed, a determination of descent proceeding could occur. In either of those proceedings, an order could result in which the heirs at law and their interests in the real property are identified. One heir could, by agreement, direct her interest to another person. Until a proceeding occurs, the ownership changes do not occur. The heir who owns one-third of the property could, after the probate proceeding is complete, file a separate civil case to partition the property. In a partition action, the court could divide the property if it is divisible, or compel its sale and provide for a division of the net proceeds. Your mother should seek legal assistance to determine a plan of action to protect her interests.
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