Who has right when no will?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Who has right when no will?

I live in my parents house and they has passed away. I have a brother and sister. The house was vacant in 2014 so I moved in 2015 with the ok from my siblings. My son live there and he keep telling me nothing is mine so he holding the keys to the house and truck and I cant get them. I called the police and they stated nothing they can do and they can not make him give me the keys. They also stated why don’t I move out. What can be done? I Need Help

Asked on June 4, 2017 under Estate Planning, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

When there is no will, property passes by the rules of "intestate succession." In your state, when someone dies and doesn't leave behind a surviving spouse, it will go to the children in equal shares: that is, yoiu and your siblings inherited. Your son has no right to anything which had been owned by your parents: it went to you, your brother, and sister, not him. You can bring an action in chancery court (a division of county court which specializes in non-monetary actions--that is, giving court orders to do or not do something, not awarding cash) to get a court order requiring him to turn over the keys to you and also to make clear (issue a court determination or "declaratory judgment") to him what you own (and he does not). If you wanted him out, you could combine this with an action for "ejectment" to remove him from the property. These actions are fairly technical and complex compared to the typical small claims case, and will involve the additional complexity that the estate (what your late parents owned) may have to be probated (if it has not been already) to legally confirm inheritance and ownership; you are strongly advised to retain an attorney, preferably one with probate experience, to help you.

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