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RayAnswers, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
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Experience:  Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law
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An apartment-bound unmarried man (with few assets) has an attorney

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An apartment-bound unmarried man (with few assets) has an attorney prepare his Will, names his Executor (step-daughter) and beneficiary (step-daughter), and receives instructions from the attorney about signing it in front of witnesses and a notary. He tells the attorney he signed (in front of witnesses and a notary) but does not make a copy for the attorney.

The man dies and his apartment is ransacked.

Isn't it true that if the signed (notarized in front of witnesses) Will cannot be found, the step-daughter can neither be Executor nor beneficiary?

He has estranged sons and daughters. Does estate law dictate who will manage his affairs and be a beneficiary?

Thanks for your question and good evening.

Here since there is no will the assets pass under the laws of intestacy.Someone would make application for probate and once appointed the personal representative gathers assets, pays claims, taxes, and anything less passes under the laws of intestacy( no will).

If his estate was insolvent then there would likely be no probate.But if probate is filed the assets pass to the legal heirs under laws of intestacy.They would likely pass to his children under such laws.

Laws of Intestacy chart.

Here a relative such has his children would have priority to be appointed personal representative in they file for probate.The pr once appointed can pursue recovery of any lost assets.

It has been my pleasure to assist you today.Please let me know if you have follow up.Thanks again.


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