Is my father’s business considered part of the estate even though my brother has his name on the business property?

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Is my father’s business considered part of the estate even though my brother has his name on the business property?

My parents’ Will distributes equal shares of the estate to my brother and I. I found out recently that my brother’s name is on the title of the business property and building. Is the property considered part of the estate in the event of my parents’ death. My brother did not pay for the building or property.

Asked on July 31, 2011 New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The issue is not whether your brother paid for it or not--the issue is whether he owns it now, such as having been given it by your father. If the business and property is in your brother's name, not your father's, then in principal, it is not part of your father's estate--it is your brother's property. The reason I say "in principal" is that if there was wrongdoing of some kind involved in your brother having the assets in his name--e.g. he faked your father's name on documents transfering them to him--then if that can be proven, he would not own them. If you suspect wrongdoing, you should contact an attorney to discuss the situation and your possible recourse.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The issue is not whether your brother paid for it or not--the issue is whether he owns it now, such as having been given it by your father. If the business and property is in your brother's name, not your father's, then in principal, it is not part of your father's estate--it is your brother's property. The reason I say "in principal" is that if there was wrongdoing of some kind involved in your brother having the assets in his name--e.g. he faked your father's name on documents transfering them to him--then if that can be proven, he would not own them. If you suspect wrongdoing, you should contact an attorney to discuss the situation and your possible recourse.


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