My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: California
First let me say that this post might get confusing but I am going to try.
My father-in-law resides in CA and is in very poor health. The plan atm is for my wife to fly there at the end of the month to help get his affairs in order. He wants to give her power of attorney for everything. When this is done they will fly back together and he will stay close to us. The problem is she doesn't think that he will still be around at the end of the month and we have no way of going sooner. He has multiple properties in multiples states and his estate is over 20 million.
The problem comes in the fact that both him and my wife (his daughter) hate my wifes mother. My FIL has been separated from her since 1989 or so, he claims that his last girlfriend made him finalize the divorce, but we are not sure as he is kinda flakey with anything legal related. They are both adamant about her not getting anything and it is hard to decipher anything relating to disqualifying an estranged spouse. My FIL did pay her a lump sum back child support payment and she had another child with a man whom she was in a relationship with for many years. The child was born in 1998. Navigating the court web sites and background search companies is like reading Chinese greek.
I assume I must first find out if they are actually divorced or not, as that would clear up a lot of questions. But I am located in texas so just going down to the clerks office is not an option.
Also he has no will and whether or not if he did probate court will be in the future.
I guess my questions are
1. reliable way to find divorce decrees in ca?
2. ways to disqualify an estranged spouse if he passes before we can set everything in order?
3. advice on all this bullshit that dropped into my lap