Cleared CD and money

My sister cashed in my mothers CD
before her death last week and got
15,000. The will lawyer does not k ow
of this CD. She tells me she will use
it for debts and bills. Shes forcing me
to move out of the house and said there
will not be any money left from the CD.
Is she legally allowed to keep all that
money? Should she be forced to split it

Asked on May 29, 2017 under Estate Planning, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If your mother had not passed away when the CD was cashed, the issue is whether your sister had permission from your mother to take the money for herself; if she did not--that is, if she cashed it without either permission or even potentially knowledge--she committed a crime: theft. If so, she could face charges, and may have to repay the estate. 
As to the house: who is the house titled to? If your sister is already on the title, she has the authority to ask you move out (an owner of a home can ask someone living there to leave, and bring a court action to remove them if they don't) so long as you are not also on the title (one owner cannot remove another owner); but if it was your mother's house only, then the issue becomes much  more complicated:
* Was there a will? If so, who was the house left to?
* If there was no will, who else has survived your mother--any other children of her? A spouse? Etc. That will determine who inherits under "intestate succession," or the rules for who gets what when there is no will. If the only close survivors are you and your sister, then you will most likely both inherit equally and her interest in the home will be no greater than yours.
* Who is the executor (if there is a will) or administrator (if no will; you may also hear the term "personal representative" used) for the estate? Until the assets are distributed, that is the person with authority to decide what to do with the property.
As you can see, there are a number of issues. You are strongly advised to discuss the situation in detail with an attorney.

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