A first cousin died and I was told that I will receive a letter to sign off on.
My cousin passed away 3 weeks ago. I'd like to know if I'm entitled to receive any inheritance, he was never married and has no children. But a third cousin was his power of attorney for he paid the deceased rent, aide that lived and took care of him and all expenses that needed to be paid. Being that I was told that I'll receive a letter to sign off on, should I sign off on something that I did not see or do not know what I'm signing off on. Does this mean I should be entitled to something?
Bring the will to an attorney to review before signing anything. Insist on having a copy of the will before you sign the document.
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If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or www.mynewyorkcitylawyer.com.
Mr. Pippen and Mr. Lutzky give you good advice. And as a universal rule, never sign anything where you "do not know what I'm signing off on."
None of us here on avvo can advise you as to whether you're entitled to any share of your cousin's estate, without having (at the very least) reviewed the will and reviewed your family tree. If the will is valid and names you as a legatee, then you will receive something under the will; if there was no will (or, similarly, if there was a will that is denied probate because it is not valid and genuine), then you would receive a portion of the estate only if you are a "distributee" -- determining that cannot be done without having an understanding of the relatives who survived your cousin.
As for the third cousin who served as your cousin's attorney-in-fact pursuant to a power of attorney, you should understand that powers of attorney cease at the time of the death of the principal, so it is quite irrelevant who had served pursuant to a power of attorney.
Good luck to you.
Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are... more
Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.
I agree with my colleagues. I would simply add that, without knowing what you are being asked to "sign off" on, it is possible that all it is is a consent to admit the Will to probate and have an executor appointed. You should not assume that you are being asked to give up an inheritance, when you have not even seen the document in question. Once probate is open, you will be entitled to a copy of the Will, if you are an interested person.
You should not sign anything you do not understand without seeking legal counsel.
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I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration.
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