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Do I have rights as next of kin?

Williamstown, MA |

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

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

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

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER 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. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

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Asker

Posted

I'm not sure -- I think its titled as a homestead -- my father was ill before he passed -- ronald might be collecting disablity and claimign to be ill as ewll -- although he's really basically just ill in the head -- mass land records lists the following: 01155 261 DISCHARGE 4/28/2004 47 HALL STREET 49 WILLIAMSTOWN GR BROWN RONALD S 01342 202 DECLARATION OF HOMESTEAD 8/20/2008 47-49 HALL STREET DEED BK 1010 PG 834 WILLIAMSTOWN GR BROWN RONALD S 01342 203 AFFIDAVIT 8/20/2008 47-49 HALL STREET DEED BK 1010 PG 834 WILLIAMSTOWN GR BROWN RONALD S 01472 549 EXECUTION 4/5/2012 47-49 HALL STREET WIL

Asker

Posted

it lists Citibank as the Grantee so that means there's a mortgage right?

Asker

Posted

Add to Basket Print Document Doc. # Rec Date Rec Time Type Desc. # of Pgs. Book/Page Consideration Doc. Status 4562 08/21/2000 12:27PM DEED 3 01010/834 80000.00 Verified/Certified Street # Street Name Description 47 HALL STREET 49 HALL STREET Grantor/Grantee-3 SANGHVI NAVIN H Grantor BROWN RONALD STEVE Grantee BROWN KENNETH Grantee References -3 01019/1079 CERTIFICATE 2001 01342/203 AFFIDAVIT 2008 01342/202 DECLARATION OF HOMESTEAD 2008

Asker

Posted

AND -- i believe he's delinquent on mortgage payments -- but not sure how i would find that out either -- there is much much more to this story -- he also tried using my SSN and DOB to open credit cards last year -- tried so many times that thre are also charges pending for that and I had to get my SSN changed -- something they NEVER do -- these two years have been a nightmare for me!

Posted

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.

To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state, I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.

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Asker

Posted

Thanks -- i have no idea - it's complicated - i don't want "family" photos ... just any photos of me from infancy through my formable years until i moved out of the home ... but, it's been a long time and i've done just fine i guess this long without them ... sigh...

Thomas J Callahan

Thomas J Callahan

Posted

Was this your parents' home? Do you know how their estates were handled and whether you were left a share of the house?

Asker

Posted

Yes -- it was my parents home -- at the time of my mother's death they were still renting the home, but a sale to my father and brother was made in 2008 i believe according to what i could find on masslandrecords.com -- then it looks like they declared a "homestead" which i'm not sure exactly what that means, and then after my father's death it looks like my brother made some other change .... i phoned the family probate court in Pittsfield to inquire about estate dispersement and they said that no estates issues had been filed under either mother or my father's names. AND -- to top all this off, he tried stealing my identity last year -- i had to have my SSN changed and have had nothing but problems since -- and my case keeps getting postponed due to his federal charges and I still am suffering the consequences of all of that ... and there is so much more .... this truly is a most unbelievable story .... these people are not "blood" -- and neither is my brother -- we were both brokered adoptions of a crooked lawyer in philadelphia in the 1960s and the adoptive mother was a very sick-minded individual ... which is why i moved from the family home at age 17 ..... for my own safety and well-being ...

Thomas J Callahan

Thomas J Callahan

Posted

Look at the deed to father and brother. If they took title as joint tenants, brother inherited father's share and you have no rights. If they took title as tenants in common, then you have a share of father's share. Father's estate would have to be probated, which is something you could start, and with your 1/4 interest you could be in a position to do something with the property.

Thomas J Callahan

Thomas J Callahan

Posted

Father's declaration of homestead is irrlevant at this point.

Asker

Posted

Thak you -- i will check deed soon and let you know what it says -- i really, really appreciate the help i'm receiving from this site -- i didn't know about it before...

Posted

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!

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and have an office in Reading. My practice is focused in the areas of elder law, estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

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Posted

Thank you - I'm trying to have the query removed but have not heard back from avvo yet.

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