If someone dies without a Will and leaves behind 3 adult children, who has the right be appointed the Personal Rperesentative?

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If someone dies without a Will and leaves behind 3 adult children, who has the right be appointed the Personal Rperesentative?

Our mother just died about 6 months agol. Everything she did leave behind was left to her “estate”. Her only real assets are a raggedy property that a realtor told me was basically useless; the deed has 7 liens against it. She also has a pension which could be nothing as far as we know; she only retired 2 years ago. Anyway, I said that the 3 of us should be named administrators and my brother is insisting that he should be named it because it would be easier for him to sign rather than all 3 of us. Who is right? He and my sister already screwed me over after my mom’s funeral, splitting up her account and taking property without discussing it with me 9like my mother’s pictures that she gave me before her death).

Asked on October 7, 2012 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If your mother's situation is as you described it here, I would wonder why anyone wants to be administrator of her estate.  It sounds like the only asset is a property that is more of a liability than an asset and all the personal property has already been distributed.  Under these circumstances, I might do nothing about an estate and let the 7 lienholders open an estate to take the property back in foreclosure.

If there is money in a retirement account (which is different from a pension - a pension usually ends when a person dies), that money should be paid directly to a named beneficiary.  It usually passes outside any estate.

If a final analysis of your mother's assets indicates a good reason to open an estate, you and each of your siblings would have an equal right to be named personal representative of the estate.  The best approach would be for you to agree on one PR.  Your brother is correct that having more than one person serve makes the entire process more difficult and expensive.  Whomever serves as PR must answer to the beneficiaries and be supervised by the court.

I hope this helps.


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