If husband and wife marry and if they each bring assets to the marriage, then each of them automatically by law has certain rights in the assets of the other person. The right given by state law is designed to protect each of the parties from being disinherited by their new spouse. The amount that the new spouse will be entitled to by state law is determined in part by to whom the children were born. Thus if the children were born to both husband and wife, then the amount that the surviving spouse would receive is a certain percentage, and if the children were born to only the dying spouse, but not the surviving spouse, then the amount that the surviving spouse would receive would be less than in the other example.
Parties who are being married, and who wish to control how much each other may claim from the deceased spouse’s estate at the time of death, control such a situation by using a pre-marital agreement, which is a contract that states how upon death assets will be divided between husband and wife. The contract can control the husband’s assets, the wife’s assets and joint assets as well as debts.
Another method is to appoint the attorney who is representing the estate as the agent under a power of attorney, which both you and your brother would sign.