If someone dies without a will, or power of attorney in place, who would be able to do or say what happens to said persons property etc…

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If someone dies without a will, or power of attorney in place, who would be able to do or say what happens to said persons property etc…

My older brother passed away 9 days ago. his blood daughter, and another girl he raised, but didn’t adopt, was left as benefficaries, on his insurance, retirement etc.. through his work for the State of Wyo. Does that give the right to take over all of his personal property and belongings?

Asked on April 15, 2018 under Estate Planning, Wyoming

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

First of all, assets such as retirement or insurance proceeds, pass outside of probate. So the listed beneficiaries are entitled to them. However, that does not entitle them to probate assets. The latter assets pass either according to the terms of a Will or, if there is no Will, pass as per applicable intestacy law. Accordingly, if there is a Will the executor will distribute them as per its terms. With an intestate estate the person who was appointed by the court as the "personal representative" (like an executor) will distribute them as per state law; typically that is to the surviving spouse, if any, and the children of the deceased.

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

First of all, assets such as retirement or insurance proceeds, pass outside of probate. So the listed beneficiaries are entitled to them. However, that does not entitle them to probate assets. The latter assets pass either according to the terms of a Will or, if there is no Will, pass as per applicable intestacy law. Accordingly, if there is a Will the executor will distribute them as per its terms. With an intestate estate the person who was appointed by the court as the "personal representative" (like an executor) will distribute them as per state law; typically that is to the surviving spouse, if any, and the children of the deceased.


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