Do I have rights as next of kin?

my brother is incarcerated probably for life - he's got a friend supposedly POA in the home taking care of animals and house - I'm next of kin - both parents are deceased - moved from 20+years ago and never allowed to take photos or legal documents which are still in home. Do I hae any rights -- Can I petition the court to gain control/homestead of the house -- the animals need to be put into a shelter and be well cared for and the current tenants need to get out so i can get in and make it a respectable place to live again -- do i have any rights? My brother is a level2 offender who was arrested Feburary 1 on multiple counts -- i don't believe he will be getting out

Williamstown, MA -

Attorney Answers (3)

Thomas J Callahan

Thomas J Callahan

Family Law Attorney - Hanover, MA

I agree with Atty. Fredericks. If you have no ownership interest in the house, you have no rights. Even from jail, brother can hire an attorney and will have to deal with house, tenants, etc. Unless he gives you a power of attorney. As for family photos and documents, again if his, you have no right to them. You need to speak to and appeal to your brother to get him to give you any rights.

If this home was left by parents to the both of you, and you are a co-owner, then write back and myself and others can offer options.

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James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Power of Attorney Lawyer - Livonia, MI

You have given us a lot of information, but most of it is not helpful in determining your rights. How is the house titled? If it is in your brother's name alone, at this point, you have no rights, at all. Upon his death, if he has no Will, and if you are the next of kin, THEN you would have rights, after passing through probate. Until that time, there is nothing that you can do, short of asking your brother if you can gain access to the house and take the items in question.

If the house is titled in any other way, then you need to contact an attorney to find out how best to proceed.

James Frederick

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Brian C. Snell

Brian C. Snell

Estate Planning Attorney - Reading, MA

I am sorry for your situation. I have tried to read through my colleague's responses and your additional information. The best advice I can give you is to purchase an hour of an attorney's time and have him review the information that you have identified about the house and the title. Having been estranged from the family for the last 20 years could explain why your brother and father purchased a home together and likely combined assets like bank accounts as well.
As far as the homestead is concerned, I am not sure it is applicable at all anymore since your father has passed and it is no longer your brother's primary residence.
A little free advice, I would remove any mention of your brother's identity on this website, or any other location for that matter. While you contend that the information that you are publishing is true, he could contend that it is false and is damaging to his reputation. He may even have standing in a lawsuit against your for libel or invasion of privacy. Better to be safe than sorry. This website is for general information and the sharing of personal information that is viewable by the entire internet community is not appropriate. You would be best to share personal information with an attorney that you retain. Good Luck!

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