What are the details on inheriting property from a deceased grandparent?

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What are the details on inheriting property from a deceased grandparent?

My grandmother is very close to passing. I don’t believe she has a will. All of
her children have passed. Myself, my brother and my two first cousins are the
only grandchildren and all are living. What happens when she passes? My brother
is trying to get me to sign something to give up my share of the property. He
says my cousins have already agreed to sign away their shares. What happens
next? And what are my rights?

Asked on June 5, 2019 under Estate Planning, Mississippi

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

When she passes, her property will have to go through probate. To do that, someone will have to be appointed the property's "personal representative" or "adminstrator" (either term may be used), who is essentially the executor when there is no will. This person will have the legal authority to manage the "estate" (everything left behind, including the  property), to pay any valid claims against the deceased or expenses of the estate (like property taxes on the property), then to distribute it to those who will inherit. If there are are no surviving children or spouse, it will be divided in equal shares among her grandchildren--i.e. you, your brother, and your cousins. An heir has the right to give up his/her share, but is not required to: you are entitled to your share, and while you may choose to give up your share (e.g. if you think the value of the property is not worth the trouble of dealing with it) you are not required to and can insist on getting your 1/4 share of the estate (including property). 
Usually, the personal representative or administrator will be one of the heirs, so if the cousins have given up their shares, you or your brother are the logical choices. Whomever wants the role should contact the probate court about how to apply for it--the court needs to appoint someone to the role, so they will have legal authority over the estate.


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