If my father died a week ago, what are mine and my sister’s rights to his estate?

UPDATED: Sep 26, 2015

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If my father died a week ago, what are mine and my sister’s rights to his estate?

He had made sure there was no debt and he owned his home, a value near 300k, and had life insurance. However, his spouse will not show a Will or let us have any personal property.

Asked on September 26, 2015 under Estate Planning, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can do a couple of different things.  The first is to see the deed associated with the house.  The deed to the house will sometimes control over wills if the deed left the property to someone else or him alone.  If the deed gives the spouse the "right of survivorship", then the house would go to her.  If the deed does not include the spouse, then the spouse and the children would share in this part of the estate-- absent a provision in the will to the contrary. 
The life insurance policy will not be controlled by the will.  The proceeds of the policy can only be distributed to the person identified in by the policy. 
With that being said, you do have a very important, missing piece of information, which is the will.  If she won't give it to you, then you and your sister will need to make an application to probate the will.  Before you do this, however, consult with an attorney that handles probate matters.  They can assist you in getting the process started.  They can also tell you where to go exactly in the county to find the deed to his home.

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