What to do if my father passed away about 2 months ago without a Will?

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What to do if my father passed away about 2 months ago without a Will?

He had left my oldest brother as the Beneficiary of his 401k and did not have any one on his house or checking. He thought that my oldest brother would do the right thing and split it between himself, my younger brother and I. But sadly to say it is not going so well. It has not been done and he moved his stepdaughter into my daddy’s house the day we went on vacation. Is there anything my unger brother and I can do?

Asked on July 8, 2013 under Estate Planning, Alabama

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for your problems with your brother.  If a person passes with out a Will then they are said to have passed "intestate" and the Intestacy laws in the state will apply when probating their estate to any asset that does not pass to another automatically (by operation of law).  Those type of assets are joint account or assets that have a valid designation of beneficiary form in place.  So the 401K passes to your oldest brother and there is nothing you can do.  But the house and checking account are part of the entire estate and if you are all receiving equally then you and your younger brother are equal owners and have equal rights.  One of you needs to be appointed as the Personal Representative of the estate which will give you the power to act with regard to the house.  There is a lot you can do with regard to the house like ask for rent or get her out.  Seek legal help once appointed.  Good luck.


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