If my biological father passed away, what are my rights to his estate?

UPDATED: Oct 5, 2010

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If my biological father passed away, what are my rights to his estate?

My brother has not let me know anything regarding our biological father’s belongings. He and his wife took all of them from the home. How do I know that this is legal for them to do? What, if any, are my rights? I don’t think a Will or trust was ever made but how would I know? Should I have been with him to remove the belongings so we both would have known what was there?

Asked on October 5, 2010 under Estate Planning, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If there is a will, then the will controls--even if the will cut you out. If there's no will, then the estate passes by what's called "intestate succession." Under intestate succession in Oregon, what exactly you'd be entitled to depends on whether there is a surviving spouse and, if so, the relation of surviving children (called "issue") to her. However, as a general rule, if one child takes under intestate succession, other ones should get shares, too, so it would unusual for it all to go to a brother if there is no will stating that. You should speak with an attorney, who can evaluate the specifics of your situation and help you vindicate your rights to part of your father's estate, if you should indeed have rights to his estate given any wills and the identity of other survivors and your relation to them.

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