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


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.).



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