Elderly Woman Could Lose Home in Probate Dispute

Imagine how New Yorkers would react if the home they lived in for decades was being sold in a probate auction - without their knowledge. That's the battle a 78-year-old woman from Los Angeles, California, is going through after a mix-up at the county office has the woman listed as the renter instead of as the executor of the 92-year-old home. The probate dispute could cause the woman to lose her home.

The woman lived with a man in a common-law marriage for 27 years. The man died in 2011. Before his death, he had written a will that left the house to the woman. In 2012, the woman allegedly received a notice informing her of a probate issue and the need to file an objection before a deadline. However, the woman was in the hospital at the time and missed the deadline.

Fast forward to early April of 2013, when the woman looked in the front yard of her home and saw two men placing a sign in her yard. The sign announced that the home was being sold in a probate auction. Dozens of interested buyers have toured the home, but the woman is staying put.

Although the exact cause of the probate issue is unknown - the county first said it was a tax issue and then there was the claim that the man's daughter is getting involved - the problem could be that there was no valid will. The man supposedly wrote the will himself and because he left the house to someone who was not legally his wife, heirs may want to cause a legal dispute in order to get their fair share of the assets.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Woman, 78, could lose home in probate confusion," Bob Pool, April 26, 2013

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