Whatis anheir’s financial responsibility when someone dies without a Will?

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Whatis anheir’s financial responsibility when someone dies without a Will?

My father is getting his 2nd transplant today and might not make it. He has no Will but has relayed his wishes. What happens to his property (motorcycle, car, computer, and cats)? He lives in MA and my brother and I live in TX. He is not married. Also, since I am next of kin, am I responsible for any out standing debt and or medical costs? Additionally, if his roommate is covering what medicare isn’t, am I legally bound to pay them backor is that considered a gift?

Asked on April 8, 2011 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation but let's hope for the best, okay?  If your Father should pass  away without a Last Will and Testament then he is deemed to have died "intestate" and the intestacy statute in your area should apply.  Generally speaking, if there is no spouse and just surviving children then the children inherit equally.  Someone will need to be appointed as the personal representative of the estate.  That is a fiduciary responsibility.  The petition for probate of the estate needs to be filed in the county in which your father resided at the time of his death.  Debts when he passes away are debts of the estate, not you and your brother personally.  Debts - including the bill for the funeral and taxes - are paid before assets are distributed.  As for the medical costs, the agreement between your Father and his room mate will have an effect on any guidance given.  If your Father comes out of the operation and is able to make a Will then I would strongly suggest that you do so.  Good luck. 


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