What are my rights in regards to my grandparents estate and should I sign a release/waiver form?

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What are my rights in regards to my grandparents estate and should I sign a release/waiver form?

My grandfather died some time ago and left everything to my grandmother. She has since died. My aunt’s husband somehow got power of attorney and the house in his name. Now he is asking my sister and I to sign a form giving up our rights to the estate. What are my rights as far as this is concerned. My sister and I are the last living heirs to the estate as children of my grandparent’s son (my dad).

Asked on November 15, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

What your rights are will depend on exactly what provisions were left behind by your grandmother and grandfather regarding the distribution of their estate.  Many people leave wills which set out who gets what and these provisions will usually control the distribution of property absent evidence of undue influence by one party.  Other people arrange for trusts or execute documents providing for a right of survivorship.  Similar to a will, they also set out who gets he interest in property when someone dies.  If a person dies without a will, this is called intestate.  Instead of a will or trust, what an heir will receive is set out in the probate code.  If there is no surviving spouse, then the estate is divided among the children... and then their children.  So... if you grandparents did not have a will, you and your sister would obtain your father's inheritance rights.  The fact that your uncle is asking your sister to sign over her rights is also some indication that there is some written instructions on how to dispose of the estate.  If you want to enforce these rights, you really need to contact a probated attorney so that they can help you investigate the estate and protect you and your sister's inheritance rights.


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