My stepfather died without a Will?

He had 1 biological child, my half-brother. My stepdad’s estate is over $100,000 so we have to do probate, however our financial resources are very limited. My brother has been living with my stepdad. The electricity is going to be turned off to the house in a week until we get a lettter of administrator. Would it be wise to do the probate ourselves? My brother is not able to do this by himself.

Asked on January 21, 2019 under Estate Planning, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You answer your own question: if your brother can't do this himself, you need to hire a lawyer. The reason you need a lawyer is that without a will, you do not inherit and have no interest in the estate (only biological and adopted children, not stepchildren, inherit); not having an interest in the estate, you cannot participate in probate, and unless you are an attorney, you cannot represent your half-brother in this. Therefore, if your half-brother needs help, he needs to get a lawyer to help him. For a $100k+ estate, an attorney's help is well worth it.

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