Am I entitled to property from my brother's estate if both of my parents are alive?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My brother passed and my parents are still alive and my mother is in charge of his estate. Will I be considered in the settlement, or is it just my parents?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Whether you are entitled to any of your brother's property depends on whether he had a will when he died. If he did -- and you are named in it as a beneficiary, then your mother or whomever has been named as executor must carry out those wishes.

If he died without a will, the property he owned at death will be distributed to his survivors according to a hierarchy set out in state law. In Rhode Island, a deceased person's property goes first to a spouse, then to his or her children, then to his or her surviving parents equally -- then to brothers and sisters.

So if your brother was unmarried and had no children, your parents are entitled to the money and other property he had at death.

If there is some specific item you want as a remembrance of your brother, you might explain those feelings to your parents. But they are not legally obligated to give you any part of your brother's estate.

Community Answers

Geo2015 answered...

The expert is right of course -- the answer is in the paperwork. Or should be, in the will. Possibly needing the estate attorney to interpret the legalese... I'd say among middle class or working class people, heirs, you're one of the lucky ones these days, to inherit a house that is still in decent or so-so shape. So many people these days inherit a house that's literally falling apart... and with very little cash to go along with it. In fact, as I think about this -- 99% of the people in this country inherit very modest assets. Nothing any of us could retire on! Yet some heirs feel wealthy for a second once they receive notice of an inheritance even if it's not much cash – since many people know they can get a real estate probate loan or probate advance if they borrow against their inheritance, specifically an inheritance advance loan or inheritance loan based on an inherited house in probate... and yet many still need to wait 12, 15, 18 months for probate to end – and are frequently so terribly worried about their income or being laid off, or their overall cash flow, that many heirs consider estate loans, or inheritance loans, or probate loans, inheritance advance loans or probate real estate loans -- almost right away. As a consultant, I hear heirs in that type of rough financial shape say, "I need to borrow money against my inheritance..." or, "I need to get a loan on my inheritance..." to get some inheritance money or probate cash in hand right away while they have a chance to dip into the well before waiting a year or two for probate to close. So they often opt to get a loan on their inheritance in 72 hours, an inheritance loan or probate cash advance, or inheritance cash advance assignment. So they'll look at niche probate loan solutions from an estate loan or inheritance advance company like, or or maybe in SoCal, or similar inheritance cash advance firms that offers this type of cash advance service as a fast option for American or Canadian heirs.. But this shows that so many heirs, middle class people, are so tight for cash that they don’t even want to wait 12 months for their inheritance. Most people live paycheck to paycheck… and will usually jump at probate cash or an inherited house as fast as they can, no matter how modest it may be. Sadly, that really does appear to be the reality of the middle classes these days. Not like reality for heirs of millionaires and billionaires. Two totally different realities, two completely different worlds -- yet existing side by side in the same world.