What to do if my father-in law-passed away this last Sunday and did not leave a Will?

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What to do if my father-in law-passed away this last Sunday and did not leave a Will?

My father-in-law passed away this last Sunday and did not leave a Will. There are 2 adult children but their names are not on anything. He did not even have a life insurance policy to bury himself with. He had a mobile home that has a clear title on it with only his name; the land it is sitting on is not his land but it is family owned. He also was a veteran with 80% diablity but had just been approved for 100% disability. He would have been getting a retro (backpay) check in 2 weeks; is there anyway the children can receive that check? He also has a new truck. We don’t know where to begin.

Asked on May 5, 2012 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If some one dies with out a Will they are said to have died "intestate" meaning that their estate will pass via the intestacy statute in the state in which he resided at the time of his death.  Most likely the sons will share equally under the statute.  Now, anything owed to him at the time of his death is owed to his estate.  So the check - if for back pay - should be part of the estate.  The boys have to get together and some one - or both - has to be appointed as the personal representative of the estate.  That is done in the county in which he resided at the time of his death.  They have to gather all the assets and debt.  The debt is pid before the assets are sold or distributed.  Funeral expenses are the most important debt of the estate.  They should be paid back to the party that paid them.  The check can be sold or transferred by the Personal Representative depending on the circumstances.  Good luck.


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