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?

UPDATED: Jun 11, 2009

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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


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

Answered 13 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,

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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