Parent didn’t Create a Will and has Passed Away

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Parent didn’t Create a Will and has Passed Away

My father recently passed away but unfortunately never got around to creating a Will. All his assets are 100% paid for and since I am next of kin, what would be next steps regarding acquiring the following: house, car, bank accounts, investments, pension, social security, filing his taxes. Is there anything else that I might be missing?

Asked on November 29, 2018 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If there is no will, no surviving spouse (he was not married when he passed away), and no other children of his, you will inherit everything. However, you need to go through the probate process to do this, the first step of which is being appointed the personal representative or administrator of his estate (either term may be used), so you have legal authority over his assets and belongings. You will also have to, as excecutor, pay (from his assets--you do not have to pay out of pocket from your own money) any valid claims agaist his estate submitted by people or businesses to whom he owes money (e.g. if he owed money on a credit card, the card issuer could put in a claim). Contact the probate court: they can direct you to instructions and forms to apply to be appointed personal representative/administrator, provide information on who you have to provide "notice" to potential creditors that they can put in a claim (this is typically done by publishing in local newspapers), and how to go through the probate process.


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