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Homeowner’s death highlights value of living trust

Woman's real estate wishes not honored by probate court

DEAR BOB: My aunt recently passed away suddenly. She owned a house and a small bank account. We were supposed to open a living trust for her, but never got around to it. Of course, now it's too late. She didn't have any children, but is survived by two sisters and one brother. She always indicated the house would go to one of the sisters who didn't own a home. But there was no will. My aunt's name was the only name on the deed. I figure we have to go into that nasty Probate Court you often discuss. What are the steps to proceed? --Colin F. DEAR COLIN: I am sorry to learn of that sad situation. Because your aunt died without a will, she died "intestate." That means the state law where she was a resident determines who will inherit her assets, including the house she wanted to go to that sister. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. Unfortunately, unless the other heirs agree the house should go to the sister, if the three siblings are the closest surviving relatives, they will probably inh...

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