Can I become executor without going through a lawyer?

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Can I become executor without going through a lawyer?

without a will how do I become the
executor of her estate.? Without going
through a lawyer.

Asked on January 3, 2017 under Estate Planning, Alaska

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

When there is no Will that names an executor and a probate court proceeding is necessary, the court will choose someone based on a priority list, as complied under state law. Most states typically make the surviving spouse, if any, the first choice, then adult children, followed by other family members and even a friends. Assuming that you are over 18, mentally competent and not a convicted felon, you may be appointed as the "personal representative" (the equivalent of an executor when there is no Will). However, depending on the assets involved and their value, you may be able to file for a "small estate" probate procedure which is faster and less costly then a full probate. In fact, some states allow for an "affidavit" to transfer property, which by-passes the probate process entirely. You can check with the probate court in the county in which the deceased died. Also, you should be aware that some assets pass directly to the named beneficiaries, such as life insurance proceeds, TOD accounts, IRA's, etc.


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