Father dies and will is read. Father had a girlfriend and will states she can live in his house until her death, then upon her death house will be sold and divided 1/2 to me and 1/2 to her 3 children. Arizona Title to house was written Ben OR Carol.. Arizona title laws state Carol can title the house only in her name. Carol is now stating she owns all my fathers house and when she dies the house is all her children. I do not think a judge will rule for the title to have my name on it or rule I will get 1/2 of the money when the house is sold upon Carol death regardless of what fathers will states. So to try and capture my rightful 1/2 of money I have lost, could I file a suit against the lawyer who wrote the will for failure to check how the house was titled? I have the lawyers notes and in his own hand writing and he didn't check or look at the house title when he wrote the will. I would think a lawyer would make sure the title would checked so there would be nothing to alter fathers last will request or cause probate. Can anyone help me or advise me any information before seeking a lawyer on this issue please.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Based on the information you provide, you have no inheritance interest in the house shared by your father and his girlfriend. Your father's will can only bequest property he has at the time of death. At the time of death, your father's house became Carol's sole property by an operation of law based on how the house was titled and does not pass through probate. Therefore, your father did not have the power to convey the house through a will even though it seems like he intended to do so. It wouldn't really matter whether his lawyer checked the title on the house. If the house was titled that way when he wrote the will, he could not change the title without Carol's permission anyway. He made his decision when he titled the house in both names and he cannot change that by writing a will. I understand why you feel the way you do, but the mistake was made by your father when he titled the house and is not anyone else's responsibility.
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