My father left me $15,000 in his will, but I haven’t received the money yet. How do I get my inheritance money?

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My father left me $15,000 in his will, but I haven’t received the money yet. How do I get my inheritance money?

My father passed away in 2007 in Texas, that is were he lived. I recieved a copy of his will stating that he left me $15,000. My half brother and sister are in charge of his estate and are not disbursing any money to me or any other family members my father had included in his will that they don’t particularly care for..Shortly after his death I hired a lawyer in Texas to handle my case and payed him a small sum but everytime I call him he says that we are waiting on the money and it’s been the same antics with him from the beginning. I would like to know what could be done about this or are my siblings allowed to keep the money for themselves?

Asked on March 12, 2009 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

S.B.A., Member, California and Texas Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I'm sorry for your loss.

Your attorney should have opened a Probate case in Texas IF there were assets which required Probate.  If your Dad's accounts all had named beneficiaries, then the money will go directly to the named beneficiary and will 'bypass' Probate.

Do you know if your father had enough assets (including money) to cover the amounts he 'left' in his will ?

If there were sufficient assets, you have to find out if your siblings, or your attorney, opened a Probate case. Many Texas counties are accessible online to check for a case by cause number, or by name. Try that first to see if there is a Probate case in your Dad's county.

If there is, direct your attorney to the cause number, and get a copy of the Probate file (Texas allows 'muniment of title' or affidavit of heirship (vehicles) for small estates). Ask your attorney what s/he, or your siblings,  has filed and tell the attorney you need a copy.

You need answers from your attorney, or you should hire a new attorney.

Texas is among the states that have an extremely lenient probate process. There isn't much court 'oversight' on the executor. 

Do make sure that the assets actually existed, before you begin accusing anyone of wrongdoing.


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