How do you probate the estate of someone who died without a Will?

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How do you probate the estate of someone who died without a Will?

My brother passed away; he was single with no children; everything goes to my mother. He owned property in OH and SC (houses with mortgages), a 401k, Roth IRA, and life insurance. Where do I start?

Asked on September 7, 2011 under Estate Planning, Arizona

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  You have to file a petition in probate court to be appointed as the personal representative of his estate.  You file in the county in which he resided at the time of his death.  The proceeding is generally called an "Administration" and you would be appointed as the Administrator.  You will be given Letters Testamentary which will allow you act on behalf of the estate. Your job is to gather his assets and debt and to pay the debt from the assets,  As for the property in the other states, you have to file an ancillary proceeding in the probate court.  You may want to consider selling the mortgaged property to pay of that debt but that is a decision you need to make once everything is before you.  You should seek legal help.  Good luck.


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