My father passed wiithout a will

UPDATED: Jun 8, 2009

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My father passed wiithout a will

My father passed without a will, I am unable to access his accounts to pay several of his outstanding debts, there is also a car that the dealerships is willing to let me take over payments, however I need a power of attorney letter or document to make the transaction. The bank said in order to access his accounts, I need a letter of testamentary from probate division, is this hard to accomplish? Thank you for your help.

Asked on June 8, 2009 under Estate Planning, Colorado


L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

If your father passed without a will, his assets will be distributed by what is called "intestate succession".  This rules for this vary by state, but generally, the assets go to next of kin beginning with spouse, children, grandchildren and then parents of the deceased.  It is correct that the probate court needs to get involved.  It would be helpful if you would have an estate attorney assist you.  A probate is opened and then the court will appoint a personal administrator of your father's estate.  The administrator will gather all the necessary information on total assets (including the car, and any real property owned), what his debts are, and what is left.  The administrator will be given the authority to pay the bills, taxes, etc., and then to disburse any remaining assets in accordance with the laws of Colorado.  You may or may not get that car, depending on what other heirs there are in your family.  If your father had a wife, if you have siblings, etc.  Contact an estate attorney for assistance in your 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 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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