What happens when someone dies without a Will?

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What happens when someone dies without a Will?

M

Asked on February 7, 2017 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

When someone dies without a Will, they are said to have died "intestate". Accordingly, the intestacy laws of the state in which they were domiciled at the time of their death controls. Typically, a family member or close friend will apply to the county probate court to be appointed as the "Personal Representative" of the estate (it's like an executor if there is no Will). Once appointed, that individual administers the estate (i.e. pays off bills/debts, maintains estate assets and distributes the remianing assets, if any, to the heirs).


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