Oakland, CA asked in Probate for California

Q: My roommate’s mother died recently. How can he find if there was a will or claim a right to the estate?

My roommate’s mother passed away a couple months ago. He and his brother are her only surviving family, but they are estranged due to my roommate coming out as a gay man. He believes that she had no will. When my roommate went home for the funeral, he discovered his mother’s home had been cleared out by his brother. His brother then put the home on the market 2 weeks after her passing and it sold quickly. It seems as if the brother is trying to take advantage of the situation and exclude my roommate from inheriting anything. He has found out about all of this from friends who still live in the area. Can you recommend real steps he should take, keeping in mind he kind of shuts down when I press him to look into it? Thank you.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Howard E. Kane
Howard E. Kane
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Oakland, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: After a person passes away in California, depending on the value of the estate, the executor of his/her estate may need to probate the will with the local court. To start probate, an estate representative (usually the executor) files a Petition for probate of will with the local superior court in the county in which the decedent resided. Upon the filing of a Petition to probate, the probate clerk will create a file for the court case. Anyone can view this file at the courthouse. To get a copy of the will, appear in person to the court clerk and ask for a copy. You will be required to pay a small fee.

In addition, California Probate Code Section 8200 states:

The custodian of a will shall, within 30 days after having knowledge of the death of the testator, do both of the following: (1) Deliver the will to the clerk of the superior court of the county in which the estate of the decedent may be administered; (2) Mail a copy of the will to the person named in the will as executor, if the person’s whereabouts is known to the custodian, or if not, to a person named in the will as a beneficiary, if the person’ s whereabouts is known to the custodian.

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.