What needs to be done if someone passes away without a Will?

UPDATED: Oct 16, 2013

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What needs to be done if someone passes away without a Will?

My dad passed away last month. I’m his only child, he was never married, had no girlfriend and both his parents are deceased; he has only 1 brother. When my grandmother passed away, my dad bought out my uncle from my grandmother’s house so now my dad owned that house as well still making payments on the house he lived in for 26 years. He had multiple cars, motorycles, trailers, bank accounts and stocks. He was a trustee on a joint account with my uncle; he stopped working years ago from an injury accident aso he had been recieving disability and social security, as well as a pension from the union he was working for. Since he had no Will or anything, what do I need to do?

Asked on October 16, 2013 under Estate Planning, California


Nathan Wagner / Law Office of Nathan Wagner

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It sounds like you will need to open a probate case for your father's estate, asking the court to name you as his personal representative (also known as an executor). Because he had no will, you should be his only heir. You should get a local probate attorney to help you. In California, probate attorneys are generally paid out of the estate, not out of the personal representative's pocket.  

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