My girlfriends mother (who was a Chinese National, previously here on a green card), went back to China and died intestate. Her only asset was a BOA Account in the United States with less than $10,000 in it. Her father is still in he US as a permanent resident. Here's the question: he is receivIng some benefits, and is regularly required to disclose assets, income, etc. So, he is hesitant to claim this money (his deceased wife's) because it might effect his benefits. Is there ANY way that his daughter can claim this money, or become executor of her mothers estate and then claim it? Is there any other 'indirect' way this money can be claimed without effecting her fathers benefits?
Hello, and thanks for your question!
As you probably already know, the inheritance will follow Georgia's intestate succession scheme since she had no will. I'm assuming when you say, "her father," you were referring to your girlfriend's father, not her mother's father, and that "his daughter" is your girlfriend.
The father should be able to "disclaim" his interest in any property that she left behind. Doing so does not change the intestate succession scheme other than that he will be ignored in figuring the distribution. If the mother had multiple children or any other heirs, they would still share in the inheritance.
If your girlfriend is the only heir, she would inherit the full amount. In this case, she would also be the most logical choice to be appointed administrator of the estate. However, being appointed as administrator of the estate doesn't give her any additional right to claim the money--the inheritance is determined by the intestate succession rules.
You have assumed correct. So, I assume this is a potential scenario: He disclaims his interest. Then I assume the succession rules would be "distribute amongst the children". Does it make a difference if the other 2 children are not American Citizens? (One is Canadian, one is Chinese, both resident in those countrys). Would they still be in the succession?
Assuming she goes that route (he "disclaims", and the succession heir/heirs claim it). Since the estate is simple/small (one bank account less than $10,000), what is the general procedure to do these 2 things.
It should be a simple matter of going to the Estates clerk at the local courthouse and opening an estate and having the daughter apply to be appointed as administrator. She then will have to comply with the rules of estate administration, which involves giving notice to creditors and other heirs. She would likely at least need to attempt to give notice of the proceedings to the other heirs regardless of their citizenship. If they claim their shares of the estate, they are entitled to it. However, the administrator is also entitled to a fee for administering the estate, so that comes out of the 10,000 before it is divided among the heirs.
1) Which county should she file in? The county wherre the Mother lived before she went back to China and died? (This is also the address on the bank account).
2) Succession laws, etc. notwithstanding, once she is appointed administrator, does she have access to the funds (i.e. can nshe take the administartor form to the bank and remove mone)? The Father and other children are all in agreement. If she removes the money and no other heirs ever come forward, will the probate court care? Or must she produce documents of the other siblings also "disclaiming" their inheritance?
Yes, she should file in the county where the Mother lived.
The administrator does have access to the funds. If the other children are in agreement about your girlfriend taking the money, they will need to disclaim their interests as well. Otherwise, it is the administrator's duty to distribute the estate assets according to the intestate succession law.
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