What can my friend do if his mother past away and he is the only heir but she didn't leave a Will? 40 Answers as of November 25, 2012

She had told me that if anything should happen to her Vincent wouldn't have to worry for anything and the house would be taken care of for him so he would always have a place to live. She didn't leave a WILL but she left him beneficiary of her life insurance. And she has money in the bank and the bank won't let him get it out either. Now they are starting foreclosure. What can we do?

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Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
If there is property, either personal (the bank account) or real (the house), in the decedent's name alone, filing probate will allow the heir to have access to the property. However, the court's interest also is to ensure that the creditor's are paid. After all creditors are paid, Vincent will receive everything his mother owned if he is his mother's only heir. If it has been more than two years since Vincent's mother has passed, the creditor period is over and he will receive everything. You will need to consult an attorney familiar with probate proceedings to proceed.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 11/25/2012
Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
Your friend must probate his mother's estate so that he can have the authority to deal with these issues. You should consult a probate attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/22/2012
Asset Protection and Elder Law Center
Asset Protection and Elder Law Center | Shadi Alai-Shaffer
Hire an attorney and open a Probate Case to Administer the assets.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/22/2012
Martinson & Beason, PC
Martinson & Beason, PC | Douglas C Martinson II
She will need to file for an Administration of the Estate. As the daughter she would be able to be the Administrator. She will have to be bonded and file an inventory and give notice to creditors. But she will have to file and estate. She should call a probate attorney asap to get access to the money so she can pay the mortgage and any other bills. She could also use her insurance money to pay for the house and if she is the only heir (no other children or spouse), she should do so.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 11/22/2012
Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
Your friend should speak with a probate attorney to advise him how to initiate probate proceedings to possibly save the home and gain access to the funds in the bank. In addition, if he is the named beneficiary of the insurance policy, he should contact the insurance company to ascertain what steps are need to collect the funds.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/22/2012
    Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
    He must file with the Probate Court to get the money out of the bank. Regarding the home that must go through probate as well. Being in foreclosure, you could call the bank or mortgage company to see if you can make payments if have the means to do so. Otherwise, the home will not be saved. The life insurance company must be notified and given a copy of death certificate if not done so. That is not probated.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/22/2012
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    If he is the only heir he can either file a small estate affidavit or file a probate and have himself or the person of his choice appointed administrator of the estate. This puts them in charge of the probate assets (probably not the insurance) and can deal with the house and the bank.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Your friend needs to file a petition for someone to be named executor of his mother's estate, settle all bills, and distribute whatever's left. He can submit a death certificate to the insurance company and apply to have the benefits paid to him directly. The house will be foreclosed by the mortgage company unless the monthly payments continue. However, the company may hold off on foreclosure for a few months once it has been notified of the owner's death.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston | Edwin Fee
    As the only heir, the son will receive the house and bank account from his mother's estate. Perhaps he could use the insurance proceeds and bank account to pay whatever is necessary to avoid foreclosure.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Law Offices of Terrell Monks
    Law Offices of Terrell Monks | Terrell Monks
    In Oklahoma he can apply to become her executor (personal representative) and as the executor he will receive access to her bank accounts so he may pay the bills and eventually inherit the home.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    GOLD & ASSOCIATES, P.C.
    GOLD & ASSOCIATES, P.C. | KENNETH GOLD
    he probably needs to open a probate estate to access the bank accounts and deal with the house.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Tell your friend to obtain the services of a probate attorney immediately to guide him in the closing of his mother's estate and transferring the assets into his name. Urgent, as the residence appears to be in foreclosure.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Stone|Novasky, LLC
    Stone|Novasky, LLC | Robert Novasky
    Even though your friend's mother didn't have a Will, she still has an estate that needs to go through probate. Probate is the mechanism for a court granting authority to your friend (or someone else) to administer the mother's estate. Your friend's mother could have some outstanding debts that need to be paid, the ownership of the house needs to be changed, the bank accounts need to be accessed, etc. So, probate is necessary to deal with these issues. Aside from probate, you mentioned a life insurance policy. If the life insurance policy names your friend as the beneficiary, then he should be able to file a claim with the company and receive the life insurance proceeds. If there is no beneficiary named, the life insurance may also need to be dealt with through probate. Many people perceive probate as an expensive and complicated process. Though there is some cost involved, the costs are generally not extraordinary, nor is the process overly complicated. There are specific statutes that dictate the requirements for probate, particularly where there is no Will.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    He needs to initiate an Intestate Probate and request that the court appoint him as Personal Representative of the estate. Once he is formally appointed, he has authority to access money in the bank and take steps necessary to preserve property value. If he determines that making mortgage payments is the best way to preserve the estate, he may then do so.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC | Darin Christensen
    He should file a petition for probate. If he is her only child, he should be appointed as personal representative and will be the only beneficiary. Once he is appointed as personal representative, he will be able to transfer the bank account to an estate account and use it to pay estate expenses during administration.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    Vincent needs to meet with a probate attorney IMMEDIATELY, in order to be appointed Personal Representative for the estate, so he can pay his mother's bills and take control of her assets. There is no other way to do this, based on the facts in your summary.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    He should open an estate administration to get possession of her assets and make a claim to the insurance company.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
    You must contact a probate attorney immediately. A probate must be opened in order to transfer title to any assets that were solely in your friend's name. Life insurance does not go through probate because there is a beneficiary designation associated with it. But the house and bank accounts, if only in her name, must go through probate in order for her son to take title (have the assets put into his name). Probate requires filing a petition with the court in the county where your friend died (and owns property), having someone appointed personal representative, allowing a time period for creditors to file claims against the estate, and then eventually, distributing the assets. This process generally takes 6 months to one year to complete. But, in the meantime, if the son is appointed the personal representative (assuming he is an adult and has capacity), he can then begin dealing with the bank to stop the foreclosure (if he wants to keep the house).
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Start the administration of her estate. Petition the court to be named administrator. Hire a lawyer to help with this.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Paul Nidich, Attorney at law
    Paul Nidich, Attorney at law | Paul Nidich
    Hire a probate attorney, immediately. You can proceed with the Probate Court process irrespective of whether there is a will.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You will have to open a probate action and the property will be distributed in accord with the law, all to him if he is indeed the only heir.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    You need to open an estate for probate. You need a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law | Martin Barnes
    Please extend our condolences to your friend. If he is in fact his mother's only heir, the resolution of her estate and the protection of his rights as heir can be accomplished by asking the court to appoint an administrator to his mother's estate so that appropriate authority can be established, and distribution of his mother's estate assets can be done properly. I encourage your friend to obtain the advice of an Indiana attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Law Office of Edward M. Burgh, APC | Edward M. Burgh
    You have to file for a Probate in the Probate Count where she lives. After some filing the Probate Court should be able to Order the Bank to give the money to you. As to the Insurance Company, if you are the beneficiary, contact them and they will tell you what to do.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    He should consult with a probate attorney to address opening up an estate administration in probate court or his other options depending upon the value of her assets.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    Assuming your mother passes away a year or less ago, you can (with the help of counsel) open a decedent's estate in the county in which your mother was domiciled at the time of her death. You should ask the court to appoint you personal representative. As I said, you will need an attorney to do this for you.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Is Vincent a minor? If so, someone will need to petition the court for guardianship. If not, Vincent, or someone on his behalf, will need to file for probate so that the title of the house can be changed and money withdrawn from the bank accounts. As for the life insurance, he needs to complete the beneficiary claim form and the insurer will pay him. The proceeds from the life insurance can be used to pay the mortgage, unless the house is not worth as much as the mortgage. Vincent, if capable, should contact a local probate attorney and schedule a consultation. Attorney's fees in probate are set by statute and paid once the administration of the estate is completed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Meissner, Joseph & Palley, Inc.
    Meissner, Joseph & Palley, Inc. | John Palley
    They need to start probate ASAP. The probate attorney can likely get the bank to delay the foreclosure and/or get letters of special administration to get into a bank account. Do not delay. Start TODAY!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    WARM SPRINGS LAW GROUP | Elliott D. Yug
    You friend needs to initiate probate and file for letters of administration.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Winnick Ruben Hoffnung Peabody & Mendel, LLC | Daniel N. Hoffnung
    He must open an estate at the probate court.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Rags Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray
    Rags Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray | Ronald D. Reemsnyder
    Go to the Probate Ct for the County where she dies and explain. The Ct will help to explain who gets property when there is no will and can get the paperwork started to have estate administered without a will.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    It depends on the state where the mother lived. The intestacy laws will apply and they vary by state as to who is able to inherit if the deceased leaves no will. Also, depending on the state and value of the house and the estate, a probate may have to be opened to obtain title to the house and be able to sell it of there is any equity. If he is the named beneficiary of the life insurance policy, he is entitled to the insurance death benefits and needs to obtain a beneficiary claim form from the insurance company, fill it out and send in the documents (usually at least a certified copy of the death certificate and proof her is the person named in the policy) and send it back in. He should consult an attorney as to his inheritance rights as to the bank account and the house.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    If he is her only legal heir, he will have to open an "intestate" (no will) probate to receive the authority to gather the assets of the state and deal with third parties (such as the mortgage company) regarding the estate. No one will talk to him unless he is appointed as the Personal Representative of the estate. I recommend he consult with an attorny as soon as possible to discuss this in greater detail.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    You MUST file in Probate Court a petition to have an Executor appointed. The Executor will be allowed to obtain all funds in the deceased's name, pay all debts, and make distributions. Your financial plan is not complete until it is co-ordinated with your estate plan. Will your family be provided for when you are gone? Without a Will, the court will decide.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
    In Maryland, your friend can petition to open the estate (it's an intestate estate if there is no will) and seek to be appointed personal representative at the Register of Wills/Orphans' Court for the county of his mother's residence. If your friend is appointed personal representative, then he should have the authority to manage the assets and deal with the foreclosure.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    Better see an attorney. A probate needs to be opened to transfer assets to the son. If the house has equity the foreclosure should be stopped.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Byers & Goulding, PLC | Andrew Byers
    In regards to the life insurance, your friend will need to contact the life insurance company about how to make a claim as beneficiary of the policy. For the bank accounts, he may need to open a probate estate for the deceased mother.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    He needs to be appointed by the Court as Administrator of his mother's estate. Once this has occurred, he will have access to the money.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Law Offices of Robert H. Glorch | Jeffrey R. Gottlieb
    He probably needs to open an estate and ask the court to be appointed as administrator. He should contact a probate attorney in the country where his mother lived.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/20/2012
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