Undocumented Immigrants and Inheritance Rights, Elder Law Attorney, Woodstock, GA

People who immigrate to the U.S. without following the legal procedures for doing so, live in precarious legal situations, but that does not mean that they do not have rights, including the right to inherit property.

Most people are aware that illegal immigrants to the U.S. can be deported at almost any time, unless they can convince an immigration court to let them stay. The Obama administration has deported millions and President-elect Trump has vowed to deport millions more. Many people wonder what rights these illegal immigrants have in the U.S., including one woman who recently wrote into Market Watch to ask “My brother-in-law is an undocumented immigrant — can he inherit my sister’s house?

According to the letter writer, her deceased sister had been married to an undocumented immigrant for 30 years. The husband never applied for a green card or U.S. citizenship. The sister passed away with a house in her name. According to the writer, the husband is afraid to put the house in his name and claim the inheritance, because he fears deportation.

She wonders whether he can inherit the property.

The simple answer is that he can inherit the property.

With some restrictions, foreigners can own real estate in the U.S. Estate law does not discriminate against non-US citizens.

Of course, that does not mean that the husband cannot be deported. He should do what he should have done a long time ago – call an immigration attorney to discuss his options to stay in the U.S. legally.

Reference: Market Watch (November 27, 2016) “My brother-in-law is an undocumented immigrant — can he inherit my sister’s house?


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