Stopping an Estate Real Estate Sale? - Posted by calgirl

Posted by Tim on October 26, 2003 at 16:45:59:

In the last five years I have had 2 friends that had a relative die. They both talked to me about it because they thought there was something fishy going on. I told them both to immediately get an attorney, they both ignored me. The first one ended up getting nothing, the second got an attorney after 4 years & managed to recover about half of their inheritance. If you think they are trying to screw you they probably are, why else would they refuse to provide documentation?

Stopping an Estate Real Estate Sale? - Posted by calgirl

Posted by calgirl on October 26, 2003 at 15:25:27:

The below is a cut and paste filling in the details as they relate to my subject header question since I would like to know if the current sale of my parent’s house can be stopped with a legitimate legal reason related to the disposition of the estate following my father’s death. It seems shortly after my father’s death Mom is liquidating everything and the other two siblings and her seem to be ‘in’ on a big secret as it relates to my rightful share in the disposition of Dad’s estate that may have been a ‘do it yourself’ project with no attorney involved in the formalities. It also seems to me that I, as the direct descendent of the deceased at least merit full disclosure of Father’s intent for disposition whether or not I am named as a beneficiary. Please note, we are all in California so California law applies here and I am not a lawyer.
Thanks for your replies especially if you are a lawyer I would like to know your opinion on the matters and what can and should be done if at all.

Do I need an attorney? My father died September 30, 2003 with all of my immediate family at his bedside and since then I have become concerned about legal matters as concerns the intended disposition of the estate . Since I am his daughter several things have occurred that have piqued my attention and have me wondering if I may need legal help.
Within the last 2 weeks I received a call from my brother that my father’s safe had to be broken into to retrieve his legal documents including a copy of a will made in 1982 as well as other documents, possibly those pertaining to a revocable trust created sometime in the 1980’s or early 1990’s and changed again in 1999 when my parents refinanced their home. My brother mentioned that this would be changed and is being changed so ‘the three kids’ would be ‘signing over’ their interest to Mom because there ?really isn’t enough money in the estate to support her? as compared to the value of the estate in the 1980?s when my father was busy flying as a professional airline captain. In addition to the above, my father?s wishes for disposition of his remains by scattering of his ashes at sea are being completely ignored in favor of inurnment at a cemetery which makes me wonder if the 1982 will was destroyed never to be retrieved and also if the revocable trust and anything about my interest or potential interest hasn?t been destroyed or signed ?by proxy? with some statement that I was unable to be reached in a ?timely manner? within a statute of limitations following my father?s death. After hearing this I was expecting an attorney or my mother or brother to call me for a formal exchange of paperwork and documentation showing my decision to receive or release my 1/3rd interest. It has always been my understanding from my father up to my teens(and at the dinner table at that!) that should he ever die that 1/2 of the estate would go to Mom and the remainder would be divided equally between us 3 kids in his words ?So that everything would be fair.? Well, since no contact was made since his death I was expecting to see something at the county recorder’s office showing the 1982 will or some mention of the revocable trust because I found out too within the last few weeks that my mother is selling the house for $598,000 which naturally made me wonder when or if I would ever be approached about the terms of the will or the revocable trust. Since I allowed the last week to pass without contacting my mother about the customary ‘reading of the will’ which I thought would occur based on experiences with friends and business associates in similar situations or to ask her more about the status of disposition I decided to call today and when I asked for copies of the paperwork, the 1982 will or the phone number of the current estate attorney handling the revocable trust for proof they refused to give me the information with blustery words saying ?The attorney who made Dad?s will is dead,? ?There is nothing for you in the estate, you aren?t a part of the estate because the revocable trust has all of the estate going to Mom and asking ?Why are you bringing this up?? and ?This is the beauty of a revocable trust and being married for 45 years since nobody has a right to see it or change it but the ones who have made it.?

The most upsetting thing about this is that I remember my father who was always plain talking and fair telling us that ½ would go to Mom and the remainder equally divided would go to my brother, sister and myself as heirs and that if this is not true and the current supposed legal documentation is then it is a shame.
After perusing the Internet I now know that a revocable trust takes precedence over a will but how do I prove the trust was in effect at the time of my father?s death as well as whether or not the contents haven?t been tampered with to exclude my rightful share if I am named after what my brother said about ‘changing’ the trust? Can the disposition of an estate/revocable trust be contested if an immediate family member, in this case me, a daughter suspects ?fowl play? from other immediate family members especially with the obvious failure to comply with father?s wishes to be scattered at sea as requested and a immediate family who will not provide copies of the paperwork involved as proof of explanation for the apparent change in the previously understood conditions for disposition of the estate?
In closing, thank you for your consideration in this matter!