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Louisiana and will question...

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My husband's uncle whom he has never met called us last year to say that my husband's father (whom my husband had no relationship with) died and left a piece of land with a house on it to his children, my husband and two sisters. The uncle basically said we are not a part of the family and we should give him the land because it is not worth anything anyway. Now according to my husband's sister, the uncle called again and said he wanted us to sign off on some paper his lawyer is sending us because they want to sell the property, which according to him is 20 acres and a house, for 20,000.00. Of course my husband is not signing anything.

My question is; is there a statute of limitations on this kind of thing, can the uncle wait us out and get the property or claim that he could not find us if we do not contact somebody. We don't know who to contact, don't even have the uncle's phone number and we are in California. Is it our responsibility to contact somebody in Louisiana or do we sit and wait?

Thank you




JUNE 21, 2001


You really don't need to be concerned about a statute of limitations, as they can start proceedings to sell the property anytime they want.

How can you say you don't know how to get in touch with this uncle? Did he never send you the paper to sign? If you know his name, I can try to find his address and phone number for you. I guess you could wait another week or 2 since the attorney will probably be sending you something--but maybe not if you told them that you weren't interested in signing.

The uncle can't do anything until he gets signatures from all owners of the property. However, his argument that you are "not part of the family" is incorrect--as an owner, you have a right to collect your share of the sale of the property.

If you know your husband's father's name and approximate month and year that he died and the city/state he lived in, you should contact the county courthouse for that city to ask the probate court for the copy of his last will and testament that they have on file. (If you need the address and phone number for this courthouse, send me an e-mail message and I can send it to you). You can have the copies sent to you by mail, so you can see what the will says (and also get the name and address of the estate executor so you can contact the executor about this matter).

The executor will be the official person in charge of getting the property sold, and this is the person you need to communicate with, and preferably you will not even have to have any dealings with the uncle. You need to consider if you can trust this executor to send all heirs their share of the money after the property is sold, or whether you will need your own attorney to insure that the property is valued correctly and to look over their shoulder to make sure you get your money.


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