What are an only child’s rights to their father’s estate if he died without a Will?

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What are an only child’s rights to their father’s estate if he died without a Will?

My dad did not have a Will or a POA. He passed recently and now his brother refuses to give me my dad’s keys to his apartment.

Asked on April 10, 2011 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Since your father died without a Will he dies "intestate".  Accordingly the laws of the state that he was domiciled in at the time of his death will prevail.  In such a case the estate will be divided between his surviving spouse, if any, and his children.  If you father was not married when the died, as the only child, you are the sole heir of his estate. What you need to do know is to apply to the probate court for appointment as his "personal representative"; this is the equivalent of an executor.  You want to do this before your uncle does.  At that point you will have control of estate matters until his estate is settled.  If your uncle has already been appointed PR, you can either try and work with him or challenge his appointment with the court.


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