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lostsister

What can I do to establish a claim to an inheritance?

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Pg1067: I did ask him. All he said was that they obtain information from various sources. No particular person. Couldn't or wouldn't give me any other info than she had passed (circumstances, place, date). Sent my siblings and I each a packet of information to fill out and send back to him agreeing to use their services. Just for my own piece of mind I would love to know how they got this information because I've played hell trying to find out information since Friday afternoon.

On one of the searches I did I found information on an address in Illinois and I remember it saying "Trust". I'm going back through my history to try and find which search it was.

Harrylime: Thank you for the link. I didn't see anything for her but did find something in my mothers name.

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I went back to the recorders office in Illinois, looked up the property and it was sold 4/29/15. Because she sold the property, would that then make her primary residence in Arizona where she passed?

 

Probably, but not necessarily.  If she had moved back to Arizona and the preponderance of the evidence indicates that she intended to remain in Arizona, then it's likely that Arizona would be considered her domicile.

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What name appears as the seller or previous owner in this transaction--is it your relative's name only or (as you alluded to earlier) perhaps she was represented by a trust or trustee?  You or your attorney should consider calling or writing the current owners to ask them if they dealt with your relative personally while she was alive or did they deal with a trustee who was in charge of managing her assets? And also consider writing a letter to the neighbors to see if they have any helpful information for you.

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From what I'm seeing, it was her mothers home that she inherited. I'm assuming since she was on hospice, she wanted to sell it before she passed away. My sisters signature in on the paperwork. Have a phone consultation tomorrow with a lawyer in Arizona. I've made a list of all the great advise you all had given ans feel much more confident holding this phone call. I will post later on in the day and let you know what happened.

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Didn't get a call back today from the lawyers office. I called them back and the person I was to speak with had already left for the day. The person I spoke with confirmed that this person got the message and replied that she'd call back today... A bit off putting but we'll see how it goes when she calls back. Had a lot more promising conversation with the second attorney's office. Hoping to have some guidance pursuing the matter tomorrow.

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Been a few days since I've posted. As of today I'm not much further into this situation than I was before, but I have sent off for her death certificate and hope to have something by midweek. I was able to contact an attorney in Arizona who is willing to discuss the situation further once I have her death certificate.

After speaking with attorneys who had the same silmilar questions, I spoke with the company who originally contacted me and let them know I needed more information as to how they were able to get the information they have, who gave them notice or hired them...etc. Of course, as I figured, he didn't give me any other information. I guess they figure it's better to secure themselves a chance at profiting from this estate by not giving me any information. I think not so much! it's all quite disturbing.

When I have any new information, I'll stop back by and comment. I've really appreciated all of the comments and help you all have provided so far. Thanks everyone!

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Thank you so much! I will check out what you've recommended. I am her direct descendant along with my brother and other sister. We all have the same father, just different mother. She was the only child of my fathers 1st marriage. I have already spoken with my siblings and we are all in agreement to pursue this together with our own legal representative instead of using this company.

That was another question I was going to ask... According to the person who contacted me, he said he had found through genealogy a couple distant cousins on her mothers side. I was wondering if the direct descendants superseded all others? I would think.. 1. Spouse 2. Children (if any) 3. Mother/Father 4. Sister/brother before aunts, uncles, cousins etc. As I stated earlier, she was not married and didn't have children. Not to sound ungrateful or smug, but I don't see where a cousin thrice removed (if that's the case) would have any claim over a direct descendant. What if they are just some crazy crack head? Sorry for the expression, but it is a valid thought.

Getting the ball rolling on the probate is, I presume, "time sensitive" but my first line of business is to find her and make sure she is taken care of. I don't know if she had pre-arrangements or not, or if there was anybody to see them carried out. Being that she didn't have the foresight to have a will, I'm doubting she may have made arrangements. This is way outside her character... So I am completely baffled. My biggest fear is that she has not been "claimed" and no arrangements have been made.

Do you have any good ideas as to how I go about finding her?

I have checked for obits/notices in all the papers in her area of Az. and Chicago and found nothing. I just finished going through every single Funeral home obituary list within a 100 mile radius of Cave Creek for the past 6 months and there is nothing. Next stop, Chicago area funeral homes.

I will start my search of what you have suggested tomorrow when I get home from work. I probably won't be back here except to check for any responses until late tomorrow night or Monday, but I will defiantly let you know what I find. Thank you!

I just wanted to say that there is a difference from a Direct Descendant and a Lineal Descendant. I am in the same boat, as she is your step sister you are a lineal descendant, while the cousins are direct descendants through the decedants relationship to their siblings. I am a lineal descendant with a step sister who is older than i am and was adopted by my parent when after he divorced my mother and remarried. His sisters children are beneficiaries of his estate with the same equal shares, but they were raised on the east coast and i am raised on the west coast so we don't know one another, but they know my stepsister whose mother divorced my father in 1972 or so. and she or her brother never had anything to do with him after they were divorced. My step sister and her brother are both from 2nd wife's  prior marriage before my father married their mother.

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lost sister, What I am trying to say is that if you share the same father or mother, then you are a Half-Sister, not a Step-sister. a step-sister is not blood related, but related by a prior marriage on either side. That makes you a half sister, and a lineal descendant to the deceased. While cousins etc. are direct descendants by relationship to the decedents sister or brother.

Cousins are not in line to the proverbial throne, they are only in line to the throne of their parent.

 

life is so complicated these days.

 

 

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I just wanted to say that there is a difference from a Direct Descendant and a Lineal Descendant. I am in the same boat, as she is your step sister you are a lineal descendant, while the cousins are direct descendants through the decedants relationship to their siblings. I am a lineal descendant with a step sister who is older than i am and was adopted by my parent when after he divorced my mother and remarried. His sisters children are beneficiaries of his estate with the same equal shares, but they were raised on the east coast and i am raised on the west coast so we don't know one another, but they know my stepsister whose mother divorced my father in 1972 or so. and she or her brother never had anything to do with him after they were divorced. My step sister and her brother are both from 2nd wife's  prior marriage before my father married their mother.

 

A lineal descendant is a descendant in the direct lineage from the deceased - children, grandchildren, etc.

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Hoofprints, you really ought to refrain from commenting about things you clearly don't understand.  It will only confuse others.

 

 

I just wanted to say that there is a difference from a Direct Descendant and a Lineal Descendant. . . .  [A]s she is your [half] sister you are a lineal descendant, while the cousins are direct descendants through the decedants relationship to their siblings.

 

This is all incorrect.  The terms "direct descendant" and "lineal descendant" are basically synonymous, but neither has any relevance here.  The OP is not any sort of "descendant" of the deceased half-sister.  A "descendant" is a child, grandchild, great-grandchild, etc.  A deceased person's siblings (whether full or half) and cousins (of any degree) are not descendants.  Rather, they simply have one or more common ancestors as the deceased.

 

 

 

That makes you a half sister, and a lineal descendant to the deceased. While cousins etc. are direct descendants by relationship to the decedents sister or brother.

Cousins are not in line to the proverbial throne, they are only in line to the throne of their parent.

 

Wrong again.  I really don't understand the distinction you are trying to draw between a "lineal descendant" and a "direct descendant."  Siblings share one or more common ancestors -- i.e., one or both parents.  All cousins (and specifically, first cousins) also share one or more common ancestors -- i.e., a set (or one of a set) of grandparents (in the case of "removed" cousins, the common ancestor(s) may be nth-great-grandparents).  As noted above, neither a cousin nor a sibling (whether full or half) is a "descendant" of any sort.  In terms of consanguinity (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consanguinity), siblings are relations of the second degree, and first cousins are relations of the fourth degree.

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Boy have I got some news!

I received my sisters death certificate Monday afternoon. I called the Hospice that was taking care of her and they gave me a contact number of her caregiver. I spoke with this woman, and after the initial surprise of her finding out there were siblings, she was extremely nice and very helpful. She gave me an abundance of information about the home my sister had in Arizona, property located at the residence, and an estimate of the estate worth.

She told me that a 2nd cousin who lives in Pheonix had my sister cremated and has her remains, house keys, and debit card of which she used to pay for the cremation. Also that the cousin(s) were already counting the dollars that they think they stand to inherit, so I need to get moving on this ASAP! She also told me that my sister was not close to any of her cousins and didn't leave a will because she didn't want them having anything. Which just leaves me to wonder why she wouldn't leave one for her sisters, myself included and brother to make sure that didn't happen. My sister had pre-arrangements and had purchased 2 plots in Chicago, one for her mother and the other for herself. She said she went by the house about a month ago and it is still locked up but may be headed toward foreclosure soon.

I called the lawyer I contacted last week and left a message to let her know I've received the information I needed and that we can start getting this ball rolling. I will be blowing her phone up all day until I actually speak with her and get answers to these questions:

1. If home is in foreclosure or will be soon, will the probate halt those proceedings?

2. Can I contact her bank and stop all activity on the account? (If the cousin has her card she can spend at will).

3. If any funds have been used from the account can I have it returned, or legal recourse be taken to return it?

4. Can I get her remains and have her buried next to her mother as she had wished and pre-arranged?

Hopefully I will hear from her before anyone posts here, but just in case, I value your opinions. You all have been quite helpful up to this point. Can't thank you enough! I will post again after I speak with her to let you know what she says.

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1. If home is in foreclosure or will be soon, will the probate halt those proceedings?

 

 

No, but if you get probate opened and appointed as personal rep, you may get the lender to hold up.

 

2. Can I contact her bank and stop all activity on the account? (If the cousin has her card she can spend at will).

 

 

You don't have any legal authority yet.  But give it a try.  With a death certificate, the bank should freeze the account, if only to protect themselves.

 

 3. If any funds have been used from the account can I have it returned, or legal recourse be taken to return it?

 

 

Get probate opened and that appointment first.  Then you'll be able to see what has occurred and, if appropriate, demand return of any funds to the estate.

 

4. Can I get her remains and have her buried next to her mother as she had wished and pre-arranged?

 

 

Not certain, but I suspect so.

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A lineal descendant is a descendant in the direct lineage from the deceased - children, grandchildren, etc.

I brought it up because the first post and second post from lostsister mentioned direct descendant and that the deceased is a step sister.

Black's Law Dictionary does make a distinction between the two direct and lineal, and goes further to state that cousins are collateral descendants.

My version of Blacks is 1990.

 

Thanks,

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I brought it up because the first post and second post from lostsister mentioned direct descendant and that the deceased is a step sister.

Black's Law Dictionary does make a distinction between the two direct and lineal, and goes further to state that cousins are collateral descendants.

My version of Blacks is 1990.

 

The following is from my Abridged 5th Edition (1983) of Blacks (under "Descent"):

 

"Descents are of two sorts, lineal and collateralLineal descent is descent in a direct or right line, as from father or grandfather to son or grandson.  Collateral descent is descent in a collateral or oblique line, that is, up to the common ancestor and then down from him, as from brother to brother, or between cousins."

 

In other words, "lineal descendants" and "direct descendants" are synonymous.  "Collateral descendants" are persons with a common ancestor.  I seriously doubt that, between 1983 and 1990, the editors of Blacks completely altered this explanation to say that two things previously explained to be synonymous are completely different.

 

And your prior post didn't say anything about collateral descendants.

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Just to add to what pg1067 posted, the difference in what descendants are called are only relevant in the case that a distinction is made at the state law level. For instance if law where to treat one degree of relatives or "kin" differently than another degree of relatives. For example, for the purposes of intestate succession (person dies without a will), it is likely that issue or a deceased's children stand to inherit everything whereas cousins would inherit nothing.

 

Take a look at the following:

Inheritance Law and Your Rights

3 Tips for Avoiding Inheritance Disputes

 

The FindLaw.com Team

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In other words, "lineal descendants" and "direct descendants" are synonymous.  "Collateral descendants" are persons with a common ancestor. 

 

Not surprisingly the meanings of those terms have not changed in successive editions of Black’s either, though the latest versions I think make the point you made above a little clearer than did the older ones.

 

Black’s Law Dictionary, 10th Ed. (electronic version) defines lineal descent as “Descent in a direct or straight line, as from father or grandfather to son or grandson. — Also termed direct-line descent.” (Italics in original.) 

 

Collateral descent is defined by the 10th Ed. as “Descent in a collateral or oblique line, from brother to brother or cousin to cousin. • With collateral descent, the donor and donee are related through a common ancestor.”

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I wanted to stop by and let you all know that because of the advise you have given me, I've been able to secure an attorney and get the probate started. You all have been so kind in helping me navigate how to establish probate for my sisters estate, and answering so many questions that I had. BIG HUGS & THANKS to ALL of you for taking the time to respond to all my questions and helping my family. I'll be back from time to time during the process and let you know how it is progressing.

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