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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default Small Claims Lawsuit Over Items Left in a Will

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: California

    My Mother-in-law passed away about 6 months ago. My husband was on the title of her condo as joint tenant, was on her bank accounts, and was the recipient of funds from her annuity. The only things that were not in my husband's name were the contents of her condo and her car (she signed the pink slip prior to her death). In her will, she left the contents of her condo to my brother-in-law, $5,000, and her car. Since the contents of her condo were the only assets in her estate, probate was not opened.

    My husband cared for my mother-in-law the last 3 months of her life, 24x7. During that time, she gave a few items away to family members as well as my husband, nothing of notable value, perhaps a few hundred dollars total.

    Upon her death, my husband gave my brother-in-law, $5,000, the car, and the remaining contents of the condo. My brother-in-law is now suing my husband in Small Claims Court for $7,000 for "missing items" from the contents of the condo. In her will, my mother-in-law stated that if anyone contested the will, they would get $1. I'm not sure if this would be classified as contesting the will, since it is about the contents, which he received. Does anyone have any insight on this?

    Also, is Small Claims the correct court for this or should this go to Probate Court?

    Thanks for any help you can give me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Small Claims Lawsuit Over Items Left in a Will

    Your husband was appointed administrator of the estate? He probated the estate consistent with state laws, gave proper notice to the heirs, and had the distribution of assets approved by the court?

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