What legal rights do my2 adult children have to their father’s house and belongings if he died without a will?

UPDATED: Oct 3, 2011

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What legal rights do my2 adult children have to their father’s house and belongings if he died without a will?

The problem is there is another child involved that was born out of wedlock and their father never married his mother and he is trying to claim all rights to their father’s estate he has went as fair as locking my 2 children out of their home they were raised in (having locks changed out and having possession of keys for himself). As being their mother, I have been divorced for over 25 years from their deceased father. What recourse do I have in the matter?

Asked on October 3, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your children and the problems that have come up since their father's death.  When someone dies with out a Will they are said to have died "intestate" and the intestacy statutes in the state they live in will govern how their estate is distributed.  Here is how things will go for your children:

"Where any person, having title to any estate, real, personal or mixed, shall die intestate, leaving no husband or wife, it shall descend and pass in parcenary to his kindred, male and female, in the following course:
1. To his children and their descendants."

"Parcenary" means to take by joint heir.  So all the children here have the same equal rights to their Father's estate.  They will share 1/3 each.  Now, I am assuming that the third child was an acknowledged child during his father's lifetime.  That is important.  So at this point get a lawyer for the kids and start the necessary paperwork.  Good luck.

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