How do I become adminstrator of my mom affairs?

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How do I become adminstrator of my mom affairs?

All my siblings agree as oldest it should be me; they are 23, 24 and 20. My mom died of ALS just over a year ago without a Will.

Asked on February 4, 2017 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

In a situation in which there is no Will and a probate court proceeding is necessary, the court will choose a "personal representative" (the equivalent of an executor when there is no Will) based on a priority list complied under state law. Typically it makes the surviving spouse, if any, the first choice, then adult children of the deceased, followed by other family members and even friends. Assuming that you are over 18, mentally competent and have not been convicted of a felony, you may be appointed. However, depending on the value of the assets involved, you may be able to file for a "small estate" probate procedure which is faster and less expensive than a full probate prodeeding. 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 your mother died. Also, you should be aware that some assets pass directly to the named beneficiaries (i.e. life insurance proceeds, TOD accounts, IRA's, etc.), so are not part of the estate.


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