Can my sister keep the paperwork of our mother's estate from me? 26 Answers as of July 11, 2013

My mother passed away without a will. My sister is keeping everything from me. She had children and has all the important papers and will not allow me to see.

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Noel Law Firm | Elizabeth V. Noel
Contact the probate court regarding this matter. As a potential heir, the court will keep you informed of the probate process and all submissions to the court.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 7/11/2013
Law Office of Thomas C. Phipps | Thomas C Phipps
If there is not an estate pending, you can petition the court to open an estate and try to get her to turn the papers over to the personal representative.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 7/10/2013
Meissner, Joseph & Palley | Sasha D. Collins
Your sister may not keep your mother's paperwork from you, however if she refuses to give you access to information regarding your mother's estate, you may need to hire a lawyer to obtain a court order to gain access to that information.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/10/2013
Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
No. File a Demand for Notice with the Court. You can also view the Court's file on your own.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 7/10/2013
Ronald Main & Associates | Tracian M. Laignel
You could initiate a probate action asking to be appointed as the personal representative of your mother's estate. Explain to the court that your mother died intestacy (without a will) and that your sister is not sharing any documentation with you. I will warn you that a probate action can be very expensive and take a lot of time.
Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 7/10/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Depending on what type of "paperwork" you are talking about, an executor of an estate does not necessarily have to show every heir every document. However, the executive does have to file a final accounting of the estate with the probate court that explains what assets were available, what debts had to be paid from those assets, what was left over, and to whom those assets were distributed.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    You need to obtain the assistance of probate counsel to file a petition into probate court to have yourself appointed as administrator of your mother's estate to force her to produce the paper s you are referring to.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    It is not clear what your sister's authority would be to do this. Is an estate open? Does an estate NEED to be opened? If everything was jointly titled between your mother and sister or if your sister was beneficiary on everything, then you may not be entitled to any paperwork, and your sister may now be the owner of everything. If an estate is needed, then whoever is acting as personal representative needs to provide notice and other documentation to all interested parties.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Irwin Law Offices | Michael Irwin
    Because your mother did not have a Will, an administrator must be appointed by the Probate Court to administer her Estate. Thus, a Probate Estate must be opened under which the Probate Court will appoint an appropriate administrator. Any beneficiary of an Estate may open a Probate Estate requesting that he/she be appointed as administrator. If you are appointed as the administrator, the Court will order your sister to turn over all documents to you. If there are sufficient assets to justify opening a Probate Estate, I would suggest that you open an Estate.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Nolan Stewart, PC
    Nolan Stewart, PC | William G. Nolan
    I suppose my question to you is why haven't you contacted an attorney before now? It is possible that your mother's entire estate could be divided between the two of you. Until you find representation, you will never know what comprises that estate. I suggest you call a lawyer in the county where she died and discuss a fee arrangement as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    No, she must share the information. If she will not, you can file to be appointed the personal representative and compel her to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    She cannot keep the document away from the beneficiaries. If she refuses, file a court motion for disclosure.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    If there is a probate, you should be an heir and you should receive info from the personal representative.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    When she petitions for administration of the estate, she will have to give you notice. If she does not petition for administration of the estate, you may want to. Is there anything in your mother's estate, or was everything jointly owned with your sister? If your mother's estate was more than a few thousand dollars, you should get a lawyer to help you with this situation.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Has probate been opened? If your sister is refusing to share information, your best option is to force the matter to court. You can then be appointed and would have the legal right to remove all important papers from your sister.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    Assuming that one of you will petition the court to be appointed as the personal representative of the estate, that person, once appointed, has the right to take possession of the assets and paperwork of the estate and the duty to pay bills, taxes and costs of administering the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    You need to speak with an attorney and see if probate is necessary. If so, you can petition for probate and get access to everything. If she is doing something wrong, you can subpoena information. It is a common but tricky situation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    No, she is required to make an accounting to all heirs and to the court, if there is one involved.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski | Gerald A. Bagazinski
    What type of paperwork? I would open a probate estate and ask to be appointed Personal Representative.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    Since there is no Will, an executor has to be appointed and approved by the court with the filing for probate. That person has an obligation to reveal important papers. You can ask to be appointed administrator of the estate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Somebody has to file a probate estate. Did your sister do it? In that case she may not have to share everything with you. However, in that case you should get an attorney to help you figure out what is going on. If she didn't, you should probably file for probate. That will allow you access to your mother's records.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    You do not disclose whether there is a probate estate opened up. Please contact the probate court and find out if there has been an estate opened. If there has been an estate opened, this is a public record and you can go and review the documents. If there has not been a probate estate opened, then you need to see an attorney in regard to opening up a probate estate.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    You could ask the court to appoint you as administrator of your mother's succession. In that capacity you could compel your sister to turn the docs over to you.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    Until you are appointed the Executor, she has no obligation to give you anything. Go to the courthouse and petition the court to become the Executor. Then she has to provide you with the info.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    If your sister is in the process of probating your mother's estate, every heir of your mother must be notified of each step unless you signed a waiver to that effect. If not, then you can probate the estate yourself and do it yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    All property of the deceased must be divided equally between the heirs.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/10/2013
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