Hello, My mother who adopted me is leaving her properties including a land to her nephews and nieces instead of me, her adopted daughter. I don't think she has legal paperwork stating that she is giving her properties to her nephews and nieces. It is only a verbal agreement. Is there a good chance that I can fight for my right as the adopted daughter for the properties ? I have a good relationship with my adopted mother and she has not told me what her reason is for doing this. As of now, she suffered a stroke and is not doing well. Also, I am concerned that the nephews and nieces don't have any means to maintain the properties and they will just end up selling them off. I on the other hand have some means to ensure the properties will continue to be maintained and kept within the family. I appreciate any advice you can offer me.
1 Answer from Attorneys
If your mother is mentally competent (has not been diagnosed with dementia or dependency on psychoactive meds or any other type of impairment of mental capacity), she can give her property to whomever she wishes. That cannot happen with just an oral promise, though.
If she does not have a will or trust, and the deeds continue to show her as the sole owner, there is no legally recognized evidence of the gifts you are suspecting. In that case, her "legal heirs" shall inherit her property upon her death, via a probate proceeding in which a judge reviews the properties, learns of the family relations, reviews any evidence of your mother's intent, and decides whether the Nevada statutes that establish legal heirs apply to the facts of your mother's case. This is a matter for which you should retain a capable probate attorney in the county where the properties are located and/or where your mother resides at the time of her passing.
Unless she is signing deeds to the properties, nothing can happen prior to her death, so your worries may be premature, anyway. You should talk with her and learn what her intentions are before stirring up a pot of soup that may not ever be served!