If both my parents passed away and left no Will, what do we do about distributing their estate?

UPDATED: Jul 25, 2011

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If both my parents passed away and left no Will, what do we do about distributing their estate?

My parents owned 2 homes in 2 different counties. Neither homes is paid off; there is about 75k in revolving credit debt. My father also has 50% ownership of a business. My brother and I are the only heirs left and we would like to keep both homes. What can we do? In the meantime we intend to pay his debts. Will this help our case with the banks to keep the homes. Should I hire an attorney for this? Also, my father pulled a car loan out for me which was under his name and has been paid off. I have proof to show the loan was paid off by me. What happens to my car?

Asked on July 25, 2011 California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your losses.  When a person dies without a Last Will and Testament in place they are said to have died "intestate."  Every state has a set of what is known as intestacy statutes which will state how the estate is to be distributed in the event that there is no Will in place.  In the case here you and your brother would share equally in the estate.  Please do not pay anything at this point in time or at least until you seek help from an attorney in your area as I think you are right that it would be the way to go.  The estates areresponsible for the debts of the decedent (your Mother and Father).  You have not stated her if they passed at the same time or what the circumstances were so those facts may influence the outcome here.  His portion of the business needs to be valued and if there is a partnership agreement then that has to be reviewed as well. One of you - or both of you - has to be appointed as the Administrator of the estate(s).  The final outcome depends on many things and it can not be determined in this forum.  Get help.  Good luck.

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