If my mother passed away recently without a Will, what happens to her belongings?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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If my mother passed away recently without a Will, what happens to her belongings?

I have a sibling living who is now trying to control things since I’m out of state. Who is entitled to handle her affairs and her bank accounts?

Asked on September 29, 2015 under Estate Planning, New Jersey


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Since your mother died "intestate" i.e. without a Will, her estate will be divided according to the laws of the state in which she was domiciled as of the date of her death. Typically, in such a situation, the deceased's property is split 1/2-1/3 to their surviving spouse, if any, and the remainder to their children.
However, first a personal representative like an executor in the case where there is a Will must be appointed to administer the estate. A family member or close friend can make application the the appropriate probate court to seek appointment.
Here is a link to a site that you will find to be of help
Also, each county typically has it's own website set-up with instructions as well.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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