Hopefully, once probate is done, all of the assets have been transferred to the proper parties, all of the proper parties have signed off that they received them, and no one received anything that they weren’t entitled to. There should be a final accounting, which itemizes every asset that was taken possession of and how it was disposed of. You should have peace of mind.

What Happens When We Die Without An Estate Plan Or A Will In Place?

When you die without a will, New York State has laws of intestacy in place that say who the people are who are entitled to inherit from you. It goes down the line from spouse or child to first cousin. If you die and there’s no close relative in that lineage, they may appoint a public administrator, which is an attorney who works for the court, who will gather the assets and distribute them, if they can find relatives. In the event that they don’t find any relatives, the money will go to the state.

What Needs To Be Settled In An Estate?

In an administration proceeding, you would want a copy of the death certificate. You would need someone to act as the petitioner. What you’re petitioning the court for is to say that you’re the surviving heir of the decedent and you’re eligible to act as the administrator. You need to be a U.S. citizen, domiciled in New York. If someone dies in New York without a will and their adult child lives in California, someone else would have to be appointed as the administrator. If the heirs couldn’t agree on an administrator, the court would appoint someone. They could always agree to have the attorney serve as the administrator, who would then fill out a petition and submit a copy of the death certificate. You’d have to make a statement that you’ve made a diligent search for a will but you couldn’t find one.

You’d have to answer other questions as to if there was any jointly held property that the decedent may have owned with someone else. You would have to go through everything and present a picture to the court as to what you believe is the total of this person’s estate and what you think the future would hold for at least 18 months. Once all this was done, you would submit the petition, which would be signed and notarized, and an application for Letters of Administration. It’s similar to Letters Testamentary. The difference is that this person happened to die without a will. The court would issue letters to the person that they felt would be responsible for gathering up all the assets. Once the Letters of Administration were issued, you could gather any of the assets and sell them, if they didn’t have enough money to pay for expenses. You would pay the bills and then what was leftover would get distributed.

For more information on Outcome At The Completion Of Probate, a free case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (212) 748-9477 today.

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