Dad stated in letter house should go to me after my sister dies. Do I have any resource? Cannot talk to sister about this issue, as she spent winters there and feels the house should be hers and her kids.

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Well said, igloo! I wondered after I posted if things could vary from state. I've only lived in 1 and it is cut and dried. But it sounds like unless it is a sizable estate, the lawyers are going to end up with the bulk if not all.
Yes an attorney that practices family law/real estate law would be best.

Here 4 her is spot on. I'd like to add to get an attorney who has a practice in the county where the property is located. This can and probably will get ugly.

The letter is important as it shows your dad did a usafruct on the property and by doing this provided her use of the property (so he wasn't being mean to her) but final ownership is yours. This all gets sticky in that she & you could live another 30 years and what happens legally during this time and who is responsible. You need to think about what happens to the property when you die and update your will once all this is done and filed.

How are the costs of the properly being done?...who is paying for insurance, taxes, utilities, upkeep etc. If they are paying for all, you really need to get proactive and move those bills to your name and pay for whatever and act as if the property is yours but you allow Sissy to enjoy it. You need to legally work all this out sooner rather than later.

Intestate can vary by state law so you really, really have to have legal deal with this and have them file and get a clear title so that this does not become an issue decades from now. In some states, all assets cede to the state and are held until the affidavit of heirship are done within a reasonable period of time. In other states, property can be cede by judges decree. Whatever the case, you need legal.

There are some things you can do in advance of meeting with an attorney: most property records are available on-line and you can go to the county website to access those and pay to download all the filed documents related to the property since your dad has owned it. This will make your and the attorney's life easier. Having the correct property description, parcel #, etc is very important legally. SOmetimes there are things that have happened to a property - like an easement or a contractor lein- that you have no idea that has happened as you don't live there and end up being a surprise to deal with.

Also when you are on-line you can easily see who the attorneys were for filings for other property in the area where your dad's place is - the same firm or title company names will come up over and over, those are the attorney's I'd contact in this matter. If you don't use one of those firms, make sure you ask the attorney what their experience is in doing chancery office work - as this is where most of property disputes are dealt with. You want someone who does this type of work and knows how to make things move in the courthouse.

is this perchance a coastal property? Where I live, lots of folks have 2nd or 3d homes or "camps" that have passed down through family (where all the old electronic's go to live.....), many many did not ever do the legal filings in probate court to change ownership. Things just went along, house was paid for and overall costs were low and whomever lived there or had the deep pockets paid the taxes, etc. Sometimes a house would sit empty for months. Then Hurricane Katrina came and destroyed the property & there were all these problems because the legal on property ownership was never done: couldn't get a grant or loan to rebuild as no clear title or ownership; when they went to court to establish heirship so they could transfer ownership, all the lineal heirs became partial owners and there was always 1 sibling who had financial issues and judgements against them which get attached to the property as the house is now an asset so more heartache to deal with; or in order to get single ownership, the other heirs must sign off on ownership and most wanted to be paid off their share;or best yet.... insurance company refused claim as policy holder deceased so no valid contract existed. All these are the sorts of things you just don't think about but a total PIA to deal with. Good luck

If you live in USA and no will your father died intestate. Things will be divided equally according to heirs in line.
Your sister cannot give the house unless it I'd deeded to her. Call an attorney

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