Q: My mother told me and My brother she was leaving me her house but before she put in in writing she passed away.
Do I have a legal right to the home even if I have my brother admit she wanted me to have the home?
A: No, unfortunately. All real estate transactions MUST be in writing and signed by the person giving up their ownership. That's the law. Hopefully, your mother had a Trust (not a Will) and the Trust says you will receive the property. Otherwise, it's likely the property will be divided between all the kids (so, if it's only your brother and you, you're likely to get half.) Sorry about that!
In California, the distribution of a deceased person's assets is generally governed by their will or, in its absence, by state intestacy laws. If your mother did not put her intention to leave you the house in writing, it becomes challenging to establish your sole legal right to the property.
Verbal statements or promises are not typically considered valid for estate purposes, especially for real estate. Without a will specifying your mother's wish, the house would likely be considered part of her estate and divided according to California's intestacy laws, which often means equal division among children. Your brother's admission of your mother's wishes, while morally significant, may not have legal weight in this matter.
You may consider discussing the situation with your brother and reaching a mutual agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, consulting with an attorney experienced in estate law can provide you with options and help you navigate the legal process. They can also assist in mediating a family agreement if possible.
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