Brother inheritance laws endow you with certain rights to your brother’s inheritance. However, your rights are lower priority than those of your brother’s more immediate family members. As set forth in the laws of the state of New York, you have no rights to your brother’s inheritance if your brother had a living spouse, descendants or parents at the time of his death. Even if you are the closest living relative, you may also have very limited rights if your brother left you out of his will.
If your brother did not have a will, then you will inherit only if you are “the closest living relative” – only if your brother died with no living spouse, descendants (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren etc.) and parents.
If your brother had a will, then brother inheritance laws state that you will have the right to be notified of the will and the hearing date when the will is presented before the court.
If you were not named in your brother’s will, then you have the right to contest the will. You can win a will contest if you can prove that your brother either did not have the mental capacity to make a will, was unduly influenced into making the will or the will was not made correctly.
According to the laws of the state of New York, half-brothers inherit equally with full brothers. This is only true in some states, New York being one of them.
Step-brothers do not inherit. Only if they were adopted by the brother’s parents, in which case they would be considered brothers.
According to brother inheritance laws, all brothers inherit equally unless stated otherwise in the will of the brother who died.
If you are the closest living relative (your brother does not have a living spouse, descendants or parents) or you are named as the executor in your brother’s will, then you can be named the executor or administrator of his estate.
Children are presumed to be biological children if they were born during the marriage or have your brother’s name on their birth certificate. Adopted children of your brother are considered his children. Step-children or foster children are not considered his children.
A legal marriage is assumed to be valid unless you can prove otherwise, even your brother was separate from his spouse or was in the process of divorce. But if you can prove to the court that your brother’s spouse abandoned them, then you will be able to set aside the spouse’s share and will be able to inherit from your brother. To be valid for inheritance purposes, the marriage has to be a legal marriage. Common-law marriage is not valid in New York, but may be valid in a different state.
You can contact the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin, an attorney familiar with brother inheritance laws, at (212) 233-1233 or 212-233-1233.