Do I have any legal right to be head of the estate?

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Do I have any legal right to be head of the estate?

A guy who is like my dad died without a Will. He has essentially been my dad since the age of 14; I’m 29 now. His sister is trying to be the head of the estate since I’m not his biological son but does recognize me as part of the family. She wants me to sign something from her lawyers stating Im ok with her being the head of the estate. I feel like I should have that right being that he’s my dad and everyone knows me as his son and if I legal couldnt be head of estate why would I need to sign that document?

Asked on May 20, 2019 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

1) You don't have any legal right (guaranty of, or even being the leading candidate) to be head of the estate, since you are not blood or adopted kin. If he had a will and named you executor, you would be; but without a will, if there is a family member who is qualified (not mentally incompetent; not a criminal; not in a distant country) and interested in the role, the court will appoint her, not you. If there was no suitable family member, the court would likely name you, but not if there is one.
2) Even though she's the one a court would appoint, that wouldn't stop you from trying to challenge the appointment, if you believed (and believed you could prove) that she was unsuitable on some ground (e.g. mental capacity, drug use, criminal past, etc.). She probably wants you to sign just to head off the possibility of a challenge.


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