Asked in Intellectual Property, Probate and Social Security for Puerto Rico

Q: My father past away. No will. 3 heirs.I lived with dad past 13 yrs and I'm on dialysis. Estate in PR.What are my right.

I don't want to sell but my heirs do. My brother owes $40,000 in child support reason for his need to sell my sister really don't care about the house. Plus I'm in process of getting 75% of dad's social security benefits I'm on dialysis for life and I'm in peace living here. Family driving me crazy and effecting my health in negative ways. Thanks.

1 Lawyer Answer
Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • San Juan, PR
  • Licensed in Puerto Rico

A: First off, I'm assuming that your father passed away in Puerto Rico. Although you state that he did not grant a Last Will and Testament, this fact should be confirmed through the Office of Notary Inspections ("ODIN", by its Spanish acronym). We must also verify that a Declaration of Heirs has not been previously procured before a Notary-Attorney in Puerto Rico; thus requiring to go through Puerto Rico courts. Also, you've made no mention whatsoever regarding your mother, so I can take that to mean she is either deceased or does not otherwise participate in your late father's estate. When did your father die? Was your father married at the time of his passing? If so, your father's widow may also be an heiress.

The rule of law in Puerto Rico states that no one should be forced to remain within a estate community ("comunidad de bienes") and this, too, applies to hereditary communities. Nevertheless, before any inheritance rights are presented before the Public Registry, the Puerto Rico probate courts must declare you three heirs to your late father. Several vital documents will need to be presented to the court, as part of the process, to prove your rights to succession. Eventually, your names will be inscribed with the Public Registry as the new owners of your dad's house.

Until this happens, your father's house cannot be sold nor mortgaged; since the Public Registry will only recognize your father (and his wife?) until such a time as the succession is notified via a probate court resolution or sentence. Once your rights are registered, the house may only be sold, donated, mortgaged, or otherwise disposed of by all three of you appearing for the signing of the corresponding deed before a Notary-Attorney in Puerto Rico.

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