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  1. Yes, the deaths occurred in California. Aside from the property itself, there aren't much in the way of liquid assets. The insurance proceeds total just under $750k, which as I stated earlier the husband's heirs believe is entirely theirs. Are the necessary steps that need to be taken something I can do with a paralegal while I search for counsel? Are there specific things I can search for at the university law library? The coroner said he would write a statement saying given the information he had, he could not give a definitive answer on who died first. Is that helpful or a waste of time?
  2. Thank you for taking the time to respond. I was named executor in my sister’s will, and was appointed by the court as her executor at the first court hearing a few weeks after they died. Her husband died without a will. Things were amicable with his estate until the checks from the home owner’s insurance policies arrived. One check was for the replacement of the home and to pay off the mortgage. The other check covered the contents of the home. His heirs believe they are entitled to both checks, even though the home was gifted in her will. They both have children from previous marriages: her children range in age from 14-19, while his are all adults. In her will, her half of the home was to go to her children, unless her husband outlived her, with her 1/2 reverting back to her children upon his death or his decision to sell the property. Her personal items (clothing, money etc) were to go to her children, unless her husband outlived her (it is not defined how long he needed to outlive her in order to inherit.) The research I have done on my own tells me that having their deaths declared simultaneously would make the undefined survival a non-issue. I am currently without legal representation as my previous lawyer quit upon me bringing the coroner’s reports to his attention. We have a court date scheduled in two weeks. So far this morning I have spoken to three attorneys who have said they don’t have enough time to prepare for something this complex and time consuming. Each of them has said I may petition the court to have their deaths declared simultaneous, without giving further instruction, other than saying the burden of proof lies on the husband’s estate because they stand to benefit from him outliving her.
  3. I am the executor of my sister's estate, both she and her husband died in a house fire earlier this year. While their death certificates have different times of death (my sister was later found in their home while her husband was transported to a hospital where he was later pronounced deceased), I recently obtained the coroner's reports for both my sister and her husband and the coroner made the note that it was difficult to tell who succumbed first. When I took the coroner's report as well as the incident report from the firefighters (where it was noted my brother-in-law was unresponsive when found) to my attorney, he said simultaneous deaths are difficult to prove because a judge is unlikely to go against a doctor and quit on the spot. It's my understanding that simultaneous death would change how both estates are administered (mainly the fire insurance proceeds). Is this something I can bring to the attention of a judge without an attorney (while I search for an attorney)? If so, what can I do on my own? Thank you.
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