My mother died without a will. What happens to her stuff.

My mother died and had no will. She left behind a vehicle and a cashier’s check
for a significant amount of money. I don’t have any money for a lawyer. What
can I do?

Asked on May 24, 2016 under Estate Planning, Florida


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

When someone dies without a Will, they die"intestate". This means that state law will control in determining who is entitled to the deceased's assets. Also, the probate court will need to appoint a "personal representative" (like an executor when there is a Will). The PR will handle the administration of the estate. A family member or friend can apply for appointemnt as PR with the local probate court.
Most states, including FL, have simplified probate procedures for small estates. To use it, an executor/personal representative files a written request with the probate court asking to use the procedure. Typically the court authorizes the executor/PR to distribute the assets without having to go through a formal probate.
Here is a link to a site that will explain further:

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