If my father passed away and I’m the sole beneficiary but he left no Will, what paperwork or notifications do I need to make?

UPDATED: Aug 7, 2013

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If my father passed away and I’m the sole beneficiary but he left no Will, what paperwork or notifications do I need to make?

What do I need to do, other than the federal notifications to the IRS, Social Security, etc, which have been done. I was living in the residence with him and will be staying in the same residence. Do I need to notify and change utilities and others, even though I will still be residing and paying bills? He verbally left everything to me.

Asked on August 7, 2013 under Estate Planning, Texas


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Most probate estates for which there is no Will, involve the following steps:

  • Filing of an application/petition with the appropriate probate court;
  • Notice to the statutory heirs;
  • Application to appoint an Administrator;
  • Notice to creditors to be published as required by law;
  • Inventory and appraisall of estate assets to be filed with the court;
  • Payment of estate debts to the rightful creditors;
  • Sale of estate assets, if necessary; 
  • Payment of estate taxes, if applicable; and
  • Final distribution of assets to the heirs.

For more specific information, you can google the name of the county that has jurisdiction over the matter and enter the word "probate" or you can consult directly with a probate attorney in the area.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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