If while out od state my brother died without a Will, who notifies who to begin probate?

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If while out od state my brother died without a Will, who notifies who to begin probate?

Does someone contact us? Do we notify someone? Should we contact an attorney? I will be bringing his cremains back home within the next few days.

Asked on May 15, 2015 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

I am so, so sorry for your loss.  His state of domicile is where any probate proceeding (an Administration in this case) would be started, in the county in which he resided at the time of his death.  If he had no Will then he is said to have died "intestate" and the intestacy statute will determine the distribution of his assets that are not otherwise distributed via benficiary designation.  That could be a life insurance policy or pension plan that distributes via a beneficiary designation. Any of his relatives - parents, siblings - can apply to be the Administrator of his estate. A spouse has priority. With the filing of the petition comes the notice to those that would potentially inherit. Depending on how large his estate is you may or may not need an attorney. If his estate is not large - under $30,000 - then he qualifies for a small estate proceeding in new York.  It is always good to consult with an attorney but you shuld understand the process so you know if you need one or not.  Here is a link to start.  Good luck.

https://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/DIY/smallEstate.shtml


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