How do you obtain a Certificate of Appointment and a Letter of instruction?

UPDATED: Nov 20, 2014

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How do you obtain a Certificate of Appointment and a Letter of instruction?

My father’s wife passed away recently and had stock that he just found out about. She left no Will as her death was unexpected. My father contacted the company where the stock is held and they sent him a list of documents that are needed. Can these be gotten without him having to get an attorney as one of the reps at the company had advised?

Asked on November 20, 2014 under Estate Planning, Georgia


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  What they are requesting os that your Father apply to become the personal representative of your step mother's estate by filing a Petition in Probate Court in the county in which she resided at the time of her death.  You can get the forms in the Probate court itself.   Assets in her name alone (that were not jointly held) have to be listed on the Petition and those who would inherit under intestacy laws would have to be given notice or consent to his appointment. He may have to post a bond although that can be waived.  If her estate is small then there may be a small estate proceeding which is less paperwork.  The total value of her estate would have to be considered. He may not need a lawyer but he needs to get the forms and ask the court what paperwork they require besides a death certificate and possibly an affidavit of heirship.  It can get overwhelming but you do not necessarily need a lawyer. Good luck. 

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