If my father passed away and I am the next of kin, how do I prove this to the banks and other places?

What documentation will I need?

Asked on November 25, 2013 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Generally speaking, when a person passes way their assets - like the bank account - become part of their "estate" and the only way in which the beneficiaries can obtain possession is for the estate to be probated.  That means that some one has to fill out and submit a petition to be appointed as the Personal Representative of the estate.  If your Dad died with out a Will that is called "intestate" and the intestacy laws in California would govern how the estate is distributed.  You can not just show up with other documentation to prove lineage like your birth certificate.  That is not enough.  You need to be appointed and Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary (if there is a Will) need to be shown to be able to gather assets for distribution.  If the estate is small (under $150,000 in California) then a Small Estate affidavit is what you can use.  Get some help even if just on a consultation basis.  Good luck.


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