A PA resident passed away with no will. She is survived by a boyfriend of 15 years and two adult children. Who is legally supposed to make decisions concerning the decedent’s estate?

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A PA resident passed away with no will. She is survived by a boyfriend of 15 years and two adult children. Who is legally supposed to make decisions concerning the decedent’s estate?

Boyfriend cohabited with decedent. One adult child lives out of state. no will
is in evidence.

Asked on June 11, 2019 under Estate Planning, Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Typically, an executor of a Will makes decisons for an estate. However, in the case where a peson dies without a Will, then a "personal represntative" fills that role. Accordingly, the mother's boyfriend could file for appontment as the PR. Typically, family members are appointed but close friends may also be as well. If this woman's children (or any one of them) wants appointment, then they should apply for it. The court will make the final determination as to just who becomes the PR. As for any inheritance rights, the boyfriend is out of luck since without a legally recognized relationship to the mother, (i.e. a spouse) he is not considered to be an "heir". The children will inherit under the laws of "intesate succession" since their mother had no Will.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The children would make the decisions (and will also inherit under "intestate succession," or the rules for who inherits what when there is no will). "Boyfriend" is not a legally recognized relationship and gives him no inheritance rights and no legal authority. He would only have inheritance rights and/or authority over her estate if she had a will which left him part (or all of her estate) and/or named him as excutor.


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