How do I administer an estate for a non-relative who died intestate with a few assets?

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How do I administer an estate for a non-relative who died intestate with a few assets?

I am attempting to help a friend (who is ill) settle her son’s affairs. He owns 4 non-working vehicles and has one last paycheck that she cannot cash. He has no debts. Must the estate be probated to obtain letter testamentary? Am I able to do this as a non-family member? She has been told she cannot sell the vehicles until 6 months after his death. Isn’t the estate administrator able to do dispose of all property as soon as letters are issued?

Asked on October 23, 2011 under Estate Planning, Tennessee

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If there is no Will of the person who passed away and his or her estate is relatively small (less that $100,000 in assets) most states have an expedited procedure to close out such an estate with little paperwork.

I recommend that you go online and do a search under Tennessee law for the filing of an intestacy proceeding for a small estate and how it is to be done. Most states have pre-printed forms that can be filled out and filed with the court in the county where the decedent passed away.

You could file the petition to administer the estate as an interested person on behalf of family members of the decedent. The administrator cannot dispose of vehicles belonging to the person who has passed away absent a court order allowing for the disposal of the assets.


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