If my mother recently passed away and she had no Will as far as I know, what do I do about her possessions?

UPDATED: Oct 5, 2011

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If my mother recently passed away and she had no Will as far as I know, what do I do about her possessions?

She had 2 children – myself and my half brother (he is older); we both reside in another state. My brother and my mother were estranged. I made the arrangements for her cremation and paid for it (per her oral wishes to me prior to her death). I want to donate her belongings to charity but the landlord says without a legal document stating I am the next of kin he can’t do anything. I will end up having to pay rent until I get this resolved. What do I need to do?

Asked on October 5, 2011 under Estate Planning, Alaska


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  It is very difficult to deal with these matters when you are close by.  From another state can make it even more daunting.  But do not worry.  It can probably be done easily.  It sounds as if your Mother did not have a very large estate, correct?  Then it may be possible for you to have prepared what is known as a Small Estate Affidavit for collection of hr things from the landlord.  In Alaska the requirement seems to be that the estate is under $15,000.00.  Alaska also has Summary Proceedings for small estates that allow easy access to property, etc.  You need to speak with someone in the state of Alaska as to what is best for you at this point in time and your brother has to be on board with things.  That is what the landlord is partially concerned with I am sure: that you would do something in contrary to the rights of another who also could "inherit" from the estate.  If she died with out a Will then you and your brother share equally.  Good luck.

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