Q: My uncle who was married died in 1972, his wife died in 2001. No kids. There isn’t a will and I wanted to know if I need a lawyer to go to Probate court.
A: You really need to sit down with a local probate attorney as there are too many issues here. For example, is the house in his or both of their names? Did she have children prior to their marriage. That is major. You may end up inheriting a portion of it with his wife’s heirs if both are on the deed. Much more information is needed as well, for example, is there a mortgage? Are there liens against the property for unpaid municipal services or taxes? Does your uncle have any judgments against him? If any of these problems exist, you would take ownership of the property subject to those liens and unpaid mortgages or taxes. In addition, has inheritance tax been paid? Interest begins to accrue after nine months and penalties can be imposed. You need to proceed with caution and do some research before opening an estate