Who is in charge if a parent dies and leaves no will? 22 Answers as of December 10, 2013

I have a brother and sister and I would like to know who is in charge and how to go about dealing with this and getting it settled fairly.

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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 person(s) appointed as personal representative by the Register of Wills/Orphans' Court is in charge of the probate estate after the parent's death. If there is no surviving spouse, then all the children may share equal priority to serve as personal representative, so it may be any or all of the children.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 12/10/2013
Estrada Law P.C. | Michele Ungvarsky
File with the court in your area for an Intestate Administration of the estate. Most court have handouts with the process to follow. If you run into problems, please speak with an Estate Planning Attorney s/he deals with this issue all the time and can help you.
Answer Applies to: New Mexico
Replied: 12/3/2013
Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
Without a will, anyone qualified to be the administrator can petition the court for appointment. The law gives equal priority to siblings so it will be up to the court to determine who is best suited for the appointment.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/3/2013
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
Did they leave assets over $100,000 in their own name? If so, someone needs to file a petition for probate. No-one is in charge until the court appoints the administrator.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/3/2013
Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
No one is "in charge" until a court appoints a Personal Representative (Executor). The surviving spouse has priority to be named P.R.. If there is no surviving spouse the oldest child has priority.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 12/3/2013
    Gottlieb & Goren, P.C.
    Gottlieb & Goren, P.C. | Aaron W. Goren
    If there's another parent, the other parent would probably prevail. Your nomination of a conservator (in charge of the money) and guardian (to physically oversee the child) should be stated in a Will.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/3/2013
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    Generally the deceased's spouse has priority and if he/she had no spouse the children have equal priority. Someone has to file a probate action and the proceeds should be split equally after all debts of the estate and costs of administration. Contact an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/3/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Any one of you could petition to be named Administrator of the estate. That person would be "in charge," but would have the responsibility of complying with Oregon law concerning the payment of debts and taxes, and the distribution of the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 12/3/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    No one is in charge, at this point. You or your siblings need to go to the probate court and file documents to have a personal representative appointed. Once that occurs, that person would have legal authority to handle the estate and wrap things up. You each have equal right to appointment as PR and you have equal right to the assets in the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/3/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    The intestacy laws of the state in which the parent resided at the time of death will determine how the estate is settled. You and/or your siblings can petition the probate court to name one or more of you executor/personal representative of the estate. The executor is the person responsible for settling the estate, paying the final bills, and distributing the remaining assets.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 12/3/2013
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    If there is no will, no one is in charge. The assets will be split equally. You will have to decide among'st yourselves or go to court to get someone in charge of the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 12/3/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    Either you, your brother, or your sister or all three of you can open an estate in probate court for your mother. You will need an attorney for this though. The attorney will take it from there. The state of Florida has statutes that deals with cases such as yours as far as distributing your mother's estate.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/3/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    Any one of you can petition the court for probate and settle your parent's affairs. See a probate attorney to see if you would be successful in petitioning yourself.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/3/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    Whomever is appointed by the Court and has letters of administration issued to them.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 12/3/2013
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    If the children can agree as who will be the personal representative, probate can be opened and the estate settled.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/3/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    Any of the siblings has equal priority to appointment as the Personal Representative. Check with an attorney specializing in estate administration for further details.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 12/3/2013
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    Any of the deceased parent's adult children have equal priority to petition the court to serve as administrator of the parent's estate. There may also be co-administrators.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/3/2013
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq.
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq. | Neil J. Lehto
    If the parent has a living spouse, she or he, is in charge with preference to administer the estate, if any, that did not automatically pass. Otherwise, the surviving adult and competent children are of equal preference in doing so. Absent agreement, the probate judge may appoint a third-party.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/3/2013
    Law Offices of Robert H. Glorch | Jeffrey R. Gottlieb
    Each of you would have equal preference to be in charge (to serve as administrator of the estate). Ideally you should come together to decide on your roles. If you can't agree and if each files to serve with the court, then the court will decide.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 12/3/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You should see an attorney, and will most probably have to open a probate estate.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/4/2013
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    When you say "in charge", I often asked clients 'of what?" You need to find out what assets the parent had in his or her name only that were not in joint account that go to the survivor or have a beneficiary designation. The three of you should sit down and go over all the assets. For Missouri, you should then decide who you want as personal representative (in other states it is called executor or executrix). If the three of you cannot agree, there have been occasions where a court has appointed all three as personal representatives. If all three of you have questions concerning the probate of your parent's estate, then all three of you should visit with the attorney at the first meeting.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 12/3/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Someone needs to file a petition for probate of the estate, then pay the bills and distribute whatever is left. I suggest contacting a local attorney to help you through the process.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 12/3/2013
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