Sacramento, CA asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California

Q: My sister's an I were left some property by our grand father an grand mother in Arkansas, I live in California an didn'

Know ,they live in Arkansas, an recently told me about the property, one of my sisters said she wanted the property an has paid property tax,does that mean she is in control of the property? ,can she try an leave the property to her kids in a will she creates,because she claims the property is hers,because she pays the taxes,as I mentioned before I never new about the property till recently,can she take control of the property or because she has not bought out me or our other sister she is not in control or sole ownership, how do I proceed.

2 Lawyer Answers
Julie King
Julie King
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Monterey, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Simply paying property tax on someone else’s property does not transfer ownership of that property. Real estate sales and transfers must be in writing and signed by the people who are giving up their ownership rights. Your grandparents’ trust or wills may say to whom they are leaving their property. If there is no trust or will, someone in your family needs to open a probate in Arkansas. In that case, contact a probate attorney in the county in which your grandparents lived.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It is not possible to say for sure whether your sister can take control of the property or not without knowing more about the specific circumstances. However, in general, if you and your sisters were all left the property equally, then your sister cannot simply take control of it without your consent. She would need to buy you out or get your permission to leave it to her children in her will.

If you are concerned about your sister's intentions, you may want to speak to an attorney who can help you understand your rights and options. You may also want to contact the probate court in Arkansas to see if there is any paperwork that has been filed regarding the property.

Here are some additional things you can do to protect your interests:

* **Consult with an attorney.** An attorney can help you understand your rights and options and can represent you if necessary.

* **Contact the probate court.** The probate court is responsible for administering the estates of deceased persons. You can contact the probate court in Arkansas to see if there is any paperwork that has been filed regarding the property.

* **Keep a record of all communications with your sister.** If your sister is trying to take control of the property without your consent, it is important to keep a record of all communications with her. This could include emails, text messages, and letters.

* **Be prepared to take legal action.** If your sister is unable to be reasonable, you may need to take legal action to protect your interests. This could involve filing a lawsuit or requesting a partition of the property.

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