How much power does the personal representative of an estate have?

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How much power does the personal representative of an estate have?

My sister died 3 months ago and I am trying to settle her affairs. I am having a very hard time getting information from the life insurance companies, the hospital, or her employer benefits department. I have filed to become P but do not have letters of administration yet, so I understand the current roadblocks. However, the insurance company says that they will not give me information even after I have the letters. Can they withhold information from a PR? Will it make getting her medical records such as her autopsy easier? The hospital is putting us off.

Asked on August 7, 2012 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Until you have letters of administration from the court, you have no power.  Zilch.  Zero. 

Even once you have letters of administration life insurance companies have nothing to talk to you about--as life insurance is payable to the beneficiary and does not pass through the estate.  Whoever is the beneficiary of the life insurance policy should contact the life insurance company.

 Best of luck.

 


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