How to be appointed administrator of an estate?

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How to be appointed administrator of an estate?

My 24 year-old brother recently  passed away in an auto accident. He died intestate but had full coverage on his car. PIP is paying for some of his funeral but there is also a check for the value of the car for about $4,000 that we need to use towards his funeral. I need to find out how to become administrator of his estate so that we can bring him home to CA and have his funeral. The insurance company is going to give me the check but they are going to make it out to the estate of [my brother]. How does this work? He passed away in NE.

Asked on March 15, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for the tragic loss of your brother. You have not given much information as to the rest of his estate assets but I am going to assume that he has a very small estate.  Was he a resident of California?  An estate proceeding is always filed in the county in which the decedent resided at the time of his or her death.  If he was a resident of Nebraska then you may have to file there for an Administration, which is a proceeding to probate the estate of someone who dies without a Will.  May I also suggest that you consult with an attorney if there could be an action brought on behalf of the estate for wrongful death, which is what the cause of action can be in an automobile accident case.  Now, every state has a mechanism for probating a small estate and some states allow for the preparation of a small estate affidavit rather than a complete filing.  Your best bet is to speak with a clerk in the Probate Court.  Although they can not give you legal advice they can guide you.  Good luck.


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