what happens when a person dies without a will?

He has no property or assets to speak of, owes no bills but rent and utilities but DOES owns an old van and has a safe deposit box. How do I, as his daughter, get access to these things? Do we have to go through probate? We cannot afford lawyers.

Asked on January 24, 2013 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your loss.  If your relative had less than $100,000 in assets, then his/her estate qualifies as a small estate.  Please follow the link I am posting into the bottom of this answer.  You need to wait 40 days, get a copy of his/her death certificate and complete an Affidavit similar to the one in the link.  You then present that affidavit with an attached death certificate to the holders of property (i.e. the DMV, his bank, etc.).

http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/probate/pdf/transferform.pdf

 


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.