Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Hi! My name is Richard & I will be helping you today! It will take me a few minutes to type a response to your question. Thanks for your patience!
Hi Ana. First, let me tell you how sorry I am for the loss of your son. I know this must be a very difficult time and I will certainly keep you in my prayers!!
When there is no will, your son is deemed to have died intestate. If you are the only living relative, that will result in you being entitled to inherit his probate estate. It's important to realize that certain assets pass outside probate and thus are not governed by the intestate succession laws and thus do not require probate. These include the following: i) joint brokerage and bank accounts which vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; ii) real property held as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety, which also vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; and iii) assets with designated beneficiaries other than the estate such as life insurance and retirement accounts. With regard to his probate assets, you will need to file a petition with the probate court in the county in which your son resided to be appointed the administrator of his estate. The court will issue you letters testamentary evidencing that authority and that will give you the authority to collect his assets, pay any liabilities from those assets, and then transfer any excess to yourself as the only living relative.
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