Who owns the property after my brother passed away and why? 18 Answers as of September 01, 2015

My brother passed away from a heart attack two weeks ago. His wife left him 3 years ago, started a new life and had another baby, they had 2 children together, now that he passed away she shows up with a lawyer in hand and wants the titles to the 2 homes he owed to the cars and even wants his clothes and shoes. My mom lives in my brother's home, can she take everything that belonged to him legally? Or do we have a fighting chance to keep the homes and the vehicles within our family? Please advice.

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Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
I am assuming that there was no will and there was not a divorce. Because he died intestate (without a will), the surviving spouse gets the community property and one-half of the personal property. The children get the remaining one-half of the personal property in equal shares.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/1/2015
Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
If she and your brother never divorced, she is entitled to the 1st $60,000 and his children will divide equally the remainder of the estate. It is unfortunate if this is the case. I suggest you hire a lawyer for your mother to see what can be done, because I don't have enough facts here to advise properly.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/31/2015
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
If your brother is still legally married to his wife and there is no will, she has first claim on his estate. His children would have the next claim. You can ask the probate court to reduce the amount the wife receives on the grounds that she abandoned him. However, it is likely that the court would transfer the rest of the assets to the children in trust and she would serve as the trustee until they come of age.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 8/31/2015
James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
If your brother did not leave a Will, he dies intestate. I do not see how just living separated could change the usual treatment. However, a family law attorney may be better placed to advise you. In Oregon, the surviving spouse gets all of the property in an intestate estate unless the decedent leaves children from another person. In that case the property is split between the surviving spouse and the children from another person. So, chances are the surviving spouse is correct. But you should consult an attorney about the specific facts of your situation.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 8/31/2015
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
You and/or Mom should have a conference with an estate lawyer ASAP. There are too many unanswered question to address your inquiry here.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/28/2015
    Geoff Germane, Attorney at Law | Geoff Germane
    I express my condolences on the loss of your brother and the difficult situation in which you find yourself. Under Utah law, if a person does not leave a will or trust governing their estate, the surviving spouse is an heir at law. A surviving spouse cannot be disinherited without that spouse's consent anyway because of the "spousal election" that allows a spouse to claim up to one-third of what is called the "augmented estate." It is a complicated calculation, but for purposes of your question it means that if your brother and his estranged wife were still married when your brother passed away, she would have a claim on the estate. It is possible that she could claim the entire estate. I recommend you hire an attorney experienced in estate planning and probate in Utah to advise you.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/28/2015
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    In Missouri, your brother's wife is considered to abandoned your brother and would not inherit the estate because she left her husband, has been gone for over a year, and is living with someone else and has had a child with that person. The question is whether your brother had any children with his wife or any other children. If he has any children, they would be the beneficiaries. If your brother did not have any children, then you and your mother would be the beneficiaries. Please see an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/28/2015
    The Krone Law Firm, LLC | Norman B. Krone
    It depends as to whether they were divorced. See an attorney and supply all relevant facts.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/28/2015
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    If your brother and his wife were married at the time of his death then she has all the rights of a spouse regardless of their decision to separate. If your brother had no descendants then the wife would be the sole heir unless your brother had a will. An estate would have to be opened and representative appointed to collect and distribute the assets of the estate. If your brother had descendants then the descendants share in one half of the estate and the wife receives one half of the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/28/2015
    Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
    First, nobody is allowed to just start grabbing things. A probate needs to be filed and the court will determine who gets what. In any case, title to real estate or a motor vehicle owned by a dead person can ONLY be transferred by a court. (After all, the deceased can't sign a deed or title). If your brother divorced her or they had a separation agreement, she's not entitled to anything. If he didn't divorce her or have a separation agreement, then she's entitled to up to 1/2 of what he owned (minus any debts). The kids are entitled to the other 1/2. Your mother, as a parent, and you, as a sibling, aren't entitled to anything.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/27/2015
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    Who owns the property depends on how it was titled and whether he had a will. It also depends on whether he divorced his wife.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/27/2015
    The Law Office of David L. Leon
    The Law Office of David L. Leon | David L. Leon
    You'll need to fight for it. If she's the wife, she will have rights, even if she is a lousy wife. The kids will have rights, too.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/27/2015
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    This will have to go to probate unless he had a trust. If he didn't have a will either, the wife will get the property.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/27/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    See an attorney, were they divorced or in the process.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/27/2015
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    Were they divorced? Legally separated? Did he have a Will? Speak with an attorney in the county where your brother lived. There are a lot of issues. This is opinion is solely based upon the facts presented in the inquiry. Additional facts may be important and may change the analysis. If you are uncertain, seek legal counsel. We are not your attorneys. This answer is being offered to assist you in determining if you need to retain legal counsel to assist you, not to resolve your issue through an email inquiry.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/27/2015
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Where did your brother live? The answer will depend on the state where all of this occurred.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/27/2015
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    I assume that your brother did not have a will, and was never divorced from the wife. The wife would be entitled to one-half of the assets as her half of the community property. Things may be more complicated than this, and you should sit down and talk to a lawyer before making any decisions.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/27/2015
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    I hope he had a will, and changed it after she left. If not, and if they're still married, and if all of his children are also her children, then you're in a very bad spot. If there is real property at stake, there is enough value so that you should get a good probate litigation lawyer and bring the rain.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/27/2015
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