My wife’s sister has claimed all of her grandmother’s assets for herself and none for any of her 6 siblings. What steps do they need to take?

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My wife’s sister has claimed all of her grandmother’s assets for herself and none for any of her 6 siblings. What steps do they need to take?

3 years ago, Grandmother signed her house over to one grandaughter to keep it out of her daughter’s hand as she would have kept all for herself. She also made her granddaughter executive/control of her finances. Daughter died first. Grtandmother died 3 months ago. Grandaughter says its all hers. I don’t know if the siblings have a right to any of the house but what about the other assets – bank account? life insurance? Don’t know.

Asked on June 11, 2009 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Assuming that grandmother had one daughter and no other children, and had seven grandchildren, if there is no will, then they should have equal shares of whatever was owned only by grandmother at her death.  However, under some circumstances, if grandmother had her money in joint accounts with your sister-in-law, the money might go only to her.

There are far too many possibilities, about all the detailed facts, to be any more specific.  The details matter, and it may take some "digging" to get them all.  There are also, in relatively rare situations that justify it, ways to undo the transfer of the house.  You and the rest of the grandchildren should talk to a wills and estates attorney about this, and one place to find a qualified lawyer in your area is our website, http://attorneypages.com


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