How to apply to be administrator of a spouse’s estate?

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How to apply to be administrator of a spouse’s estate?

Recently my husband died suddenly. There is no Will.There is life insurance with me being named as beneficiary. There are several accounts as well as car titles and the mortgage that are only in his name. Some banks are requiring a copy of the death certificate as well as proof of administrator to release information. How do I go about becoming an administrator and how long will it take?

Asked on July 12, 2011 under Estate Planning, Indiana

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Your husband died what is known as "intestate" meaning without a Will.  Every state has a set of laws known as Intestacy Statutes that will let you know how the estate is distributed in such a case.  The life insurance policy names you directly so it passes "outside the estate" meaning that you should be able to collect on it sooner rather than later.  It is unfortunate that you are not not named on any of the accounts and the house.  Was it your marital residence? That is an issue that needs to be addressed.  In the meantime, you can fill out a Petition for Letters of Administration in the probate court in the County in which your husband resided at the time of his death. It may be a bit overwhelming and you might want to speak with an attorney.  Good luck.


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