What are my rights to my brother’s estate if he died without a Will?

UPDATED: Jan 6, 2011

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What are my rights to my brother’s estate if he died without a Will?

My brother killed himself on 8/31/09. He had no Will but did have 2 kids. The oldest is claiming to have POA of all of his property. He was not married but the oldest kid has allowed her mother, (his first wife) to move into his house. They have been moving things in and out and going through his personal things. His daughter was on his checking account. From what I understand, this is not legal. Also, he had some things that mother gave him from when we were growing up. Do I have any rights to them? Do I have any rights in this matter? It has been almost 1 1/2 years and I’m just now finding out what’s going on. Is this between the kids only? I am very mad about this.

Asked on January 6, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If your brother died "intestate" (i.e. without a Will ), then his estate will be distributed according to the laws of the state where he was domiciled as of the date of his death.  In TX, such a distribution goes to a surviving spouse, if any, and to the deceased's children.  A sibling only inherits if the deceased left no children.  Since this is not the case in your situation (i.e. your brother left "issue"), you would have no rights to any of his estate.

Note:  A POA extinquishes upon the death of the maker.  However, as indicated above, the children have lrights to inherit pursuant to TX's intestacy statute.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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