Dallas, TX asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas

Q: Is my brother entitled to a share of my dad's portion of my grandmas house if his name was legally changed in 1982?

My grandma passed away in 2005 and her house was left to my dad and his brother and sisters. My dad passed away in 2013 and the house was just recently sold. I have a brother whose name was legally changed when he was about 2 because he was adopted by someone else. Is he entitled to any of the money from the sell of the house? His full legal name is Earl Joseph Stroope and that is what is on his Social Security Card too. He hasn't been a part of the family for over 30 years now.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Changing his name and not being seen as part of the family does not make him any less his father's biological child or any less entitled to inherit under the Texas law of descent and distribution.

Ross F. Tew
Ross F. Tew
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Arlington, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Assuming that your brother was adopted, and assuming further that neither the adoptive parents nor the biological parents left Wills, in Texas the general rule is that an adopted child inherits from his adoptive parents just like any of their other children would, but the adopted child also inherits from his or her biological parents as well. As with all general rules there is an exception, and it comes down to whether or not the biological parent's parental rights were terminated by the Court which ordered the adoption. Was the Order terminating the parental rights of the biological parents silent on the topic of whether the adopted child still inherits from his or her biological parents? If that Order is silent on the topic of inheritance, the adopted child still adopts. If the Order specifically states that the adopted child does not inherit from his or her biological parent, then the adopted child will not inherit anything from his or her biological parent unless that parent left property to the child in his or her Will.

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