If my father died without a will, is a notarized list legal for leaving his personal belongings to someone? 12 Answers as of November 10, 2017

I am disputing this with my brother and sister.

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O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
In Maryland, the notarized list is most likely insufficient for passing property after death; without knowing more it does not sound like the list meets the legal requirements of a will.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 11/10/2017
Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
No. If your father died without a will, his entire estate goes to his heirs. If he was not married at the time of death, then equals shares will go as follows; one to each of his children and one to the issue of each of his children, if any, who died before he did but are survived by issue who survived him.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/9/2017
Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
Definitely not. If there is no Will, the estate be probated under state law, which in your case means 1/3 of the value of his assets to each of his children. The children can make any arrangement they want. If the list has enough correct verbiage it might qualify as a Will, but a notary would stamp the paper so it would not qualify as a holography Will? [one created by the handwriting of the deceased].
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/8/2017
Law Office of T. Phillip Boggess | T. Phillip Boggess
It would only suffice as a will if it met the required standards for a last will and testament.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 11/8/2017
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
The answer will depend upon the laws of the state your father lived in at the time of his death. Some states would accept such a list as a will; others would not. Check with an estate planning attorney licensed in that state.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 11/7/2017
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    The question is whether the list is a "will" for legal purposes. If it is signed (which it is if notarized), dated and it is possible to see who gets what, it is probably a will. Still, it will have to go through Probate, so you will have an opportunity to contest the document.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/7/2017
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    If there is no Will there is no direction that can be used by a representative of the estate to require the distribution of particular pieces of property. A writing may have some moral authority if the heirs choose to give it such authority but that is purely voluntary and cannot be enforced. If a probate were opened the personal property would be divided equally among the descendants by value. If there is no agreement among the heirs then the property will be sold and the proceeds divided evenly among the descendants.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/7/2017
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Maybe. There is a new Oregon statute which makes documents signed by the decedent eligible to be admitted to probate as a will of the decedent if you can bring evidence that that's what the decedent meant. The thing is, you're talking about a fair amount of money by the time you prove the document, and get it admitted to probate, and then probate the estate. On the whole, it will be a way better idea to have Thanksgiving dinner with your siblings, and try to arrive at some kind of deal. Compromise, negotiate. Or, if you can't, please don't blame your lawyer for the cost of winning this fight.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/7/2017
    Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
    Not in Ohio. A will needs to have two witnesses.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 11/7/2017
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    No. Because your father died intestate, without a will, WA statutes defines how his estate is distributed. If no spouse, the estate is divided in equal shares between the children, shares and shares alike. If he owned a house, his estate must be probated. If no house and his estate is less than $100,000, his assets may be distributed by small estate affidavit. Here, ALL OF THE BENEFICIARIES, must sign-off on the distribution. BUT, before that can happen ALL creditors must be paid. If the estate is cash poor, assess must be sold to generate funds to pay the creditors.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/7/2017
    Law Offices of Richard M. Levy P.C.
    Law Offices of Richard M. Levy P.C. | Richard M. Levy
    No - the laws of intestacy will govern the distribution of your father's estate. Some will need to apply to Surrogate's Court to be appointed administrator of the estate.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/7/2017
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