What happens now after my father recently passed and he didn't have a will? 12 Answers as of May 20, 2014

My brother (aged 23) and I (aged 21) are the only two children he has and him and our mom are divorced. What happens now in regards to the house (in which he owned), his 401K (through his work I believe), his life insurance (also through his work I believe), the car he was making payments on, and the 3-4 bank accounts he holds? I have been hearing a lot of troubling things about the state coming in and taking some of his assets and taking a long time to decide upon who gets what. My brother and I aren't too concerned with the money, as we are grown adults who are self-sufficient, but it would be a shame for something like that to happen. My dad has worked too hard his whole life for the state to come in and take things that are rightfully my family's. Thank you for your time and legal expertise.



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Law Office Of Victor Waid
Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
You should consult a probate lawyer to probate the estate of your father. The state does not take property of an estate; no truth to those rumors or old wives tales.. The lawyer is paid out of the proceeds of the estate at the conclusion of the probate proceeding; the lawyer may ask you to advance the filing fees, and other assorted fees required by the administration of the estate.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/20/2014
Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
401k plan goes according to his beneficiary designation, if none then equally to you and your brother. Life insurance goes according to his beneficiary designation, if none then equally to you and your brother. Car goes equally to you and your brother. Go to AAA to take care of this soon. Much easier to deal with them than with DMV. Everything goes equally to you and your brother. You'll need to hire a lawyer and file a petition for probate. It won't be free, but will be less than 4%.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/20/2014
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
The state doesn't take anything (common misconception). You and your brother will inherit anything in Dad's name alone. In order to do so you?ll have to open a probate; please see an experienced probate lawyer. Many times an insurance policy or a 401K will have named beneficiaries; if that is your case the insurance company will pay the benes direct without probate.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/20/2014
James M. Chandler | James M. Chandler
If your father was a resident in California and died there. You would need to file a probate action because there is real property involved.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/20/2014
Law Offices of Charles R. Perry
Law Offices of Charles R. Perry | Charles R. Perry
You are going to need to speak to a lawyer about this, as it all depends on the exact paperwork governing his property. In general, parties to a divorce separate their property. As such, your mother likely has no interest in any of your father's assets. Assets will pass to specific beneficiaries listed on things like life insurance, bank accounts, and his 401K. If there is not specific beneficiary designated, the assets pass through the will or trust. If there is no will, the assets pass by intestacy, which would likely be half and half to you and your brother. Unless there was a living trust, the estate will need to go through probate to make sure all the bills are taken care of. As I said, you are likely going to need a lawyer here to help you with this. Fees are often capped by state law, so while you should shop around for a lawyer, the decision as to whom to retain should be made on a combination of price and whom you feel you and your brother can work with.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/20/2014
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C.
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C. | Donald Scher
    His estate is probated as an intestate estate (no will) and you two will be the heirs. The state does not come in and take assets, only income taxes that are due. You may receive the life insurance and 401k benefits directly, as they may pass directly to you, if you were named as the beneficiary. You should hire an attorney and seek appointment as personal representative of his estate. It is not difficult to do.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 5/20/2014
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    Those assets not assigned a survivor benefit will go to probate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2014
    Law Firm of Steven M. Green
    Law Firm of Steven M. Green | Steven M. Green
    Assuming your father was a resident of California the Probate code of California has specific laws as to how your father's estate will handled and since you are his daughter you have the right to file a petition with the court to be appointed as the administrator of your father. The law as long as followed will protect the estate and the heirs of your father which are you and your brother. You need to contact an attorney who does probate law as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2014
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    Since your father died intestate (without a will), you and your sibling are your father's next of kin. You should immediately retain the services of a probate attorney, as there is the possibility that his estate is over $150,000.00. Either one of you or both of you can petition the court to become the administrator or co-administrator of your father's estate. It is important that someone be appointed as soon as possible to marshal assets, make car payments, etc. until the assets can be transferred in to both of your names. Make a consultation with a probate attorney to discuss your concerns and the options that are available to you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2014
    Law Offices of R. Christine Brown | R. Christine Brown
    You and/or your brother need to file a Petition for Probate so that an Administrator can be appointed. You need to do a probate so that title to the house and the bank accounts can be transferred to you and your brother, assuming that you are his only children and he had no spouse at the time of his death.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2014
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    You and your brother will need to probate your father's estate. You should contact a local probate attorney as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    The state will not get involved as long as you and/or your brother file a Petition for Probate and administer his estate. If you do that, the assets will go to you and your brother. Speak with an attorney ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2014
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