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RayAnswers, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 41016
Experience:  Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law
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Daughter is now deceased and has left no will. She owned

Customer Question

Daughter is now deceased and has left no will. She owned real estate (house and double lot) and left $5000 in bank account. Bank says I have to have a probate form to secure the funds. How/what is this type of form and where can I get it. I am not the executor. Daughter is from Chisago Co Minnesota (often uses Ramsey Co forms). I am a resident of South Dakota. Will probably go to formal probate court because estranged ex-wife is already removing property from daughter's house without family/court agreement. Ex-wife says she will apply to be executor but it is unknown if she has applied yet.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.
Hi and welcome to JA. I am Ray and will be the expert helping you tonight.
I am profoundly sorry for your loss of your daughter.
You can file for informal probate of the will if you file first.You file, they post notice and you appear in front of the judge and receive your letters testamentary.
If the ex files first then formal probate is the only option and you will need a lawyer at that point.
The letters testamentary here allow you to access the funds and convert it to an estate account.You really need to file for probate and secure property.You can demand return of anything taken and sue here if necessary or court orders return
Expect this process to take about a year here from start to finish.You hve to pay any claims, sell or transfer the house for the legal heirs.All of this can take some time to complete.
Free forms for you ..
You may also consider a local lawyer because of distance and if you think there is theft going on with the ex here.
Lawyer referral
I appreciate the chance to help you tonight.Please let me know if you have more follow up.Thanks again.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm sorry. What are the letter's of testimony. (The informal probate filing?) Is that what the bank is asking for?
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

Either formal or informal, you are making application for probate and to be appointed executor.Whoever gets appointed at hearing gets these letters, it is their authority from the judge to open accounts, access funds, sign deeds or sell property, pay claims , etc.This is what you get in court at the hearing.Judge signs an order appointing you, you are sworn in by the clerk and get the letters from her so you can proceed to administer the estate.You are also able to demand return of anything taken and sue if you have too.

"Letters Testamentary" are given to personal representatives (called 'executors') of a probate estate who were named as executor in the decedent's will.
"Letters of Administration" are given to personal representatives (called 'administrators') of a probate estate where the decedent did not have a will.
Thanks for the follow up hope this clarified it for you.I know it can all be overwhelming.
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.
If you can leave a positive rating when we are done it is always much appreciated,the best to you.