If my brother died without leaving a Will and has a 16 year old daughter, who becomes his personal representative?

He passed away 6 months ago and our family is having trouble with his daughter. We have been told that she is automatically his personal representative to his property, burial details, headstone, etc. She still lives at home with her mother who divorced my brother many years ago.

Asked on June 13, 2012 under Estate Planning, Indiana


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Either a guardian ad litem needs to be chosen by the court or the court needs to have this estate probated and a court appointed adminstrator will be appointed. The family needs to understand this entire process must now go through probate, regardless of whether she is considered his personal representative. Most states require the representative to be over the age of 18 (age of majority). Talk to her mother and see if the mother can help move this process through with the court as the daughter will need to be the initial filer (again possibly with a guardian ad litem).

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