What do to after a loved one has passed involving probate, estate, living will, guardianship etc.?

Your Open Question: What to do after a loved one has passed?

My mother in law passed away over the weekend and unfortunately she did not have a will or life insurance. She has 3 children, my fiancé (30), her daughter (23), and her youngest (14). She was not married and her parents are no longer alive. She was getting SSI and her youngest child was as well. I realize her payments will stop but my fiances brother will still get his. She did not have any assets except for her home of which she still owes about 8k on. The funeral arrangements thankfully were taken care of with the help of other family. As for what to do next, we're not sure. We have an apt with a lawyer for a free consultation but I wanted to get any additional info or insight that might be helpful. I have heard that when a family member does not have a will that het estate must go through probate. We aren't really interested in that because her daughter would like to continue with mortgage payments and keep the house as it's been in the family for years. All of her children agree upon this and there really is not much to split. The question is, will the court allow this? I knowthat someone needs to be appointed as the administrator or executor of her estate but surely that can be done without going through probate? Secondly, can the two adult children both be appointed administrators over her estate? We just have a lot of unanswered questions and any helpful advice would be appreciated. Again, we are talking with a lawyer this week but just thought I'd see if my fellow yahoo users might have experienced anything similar and what we should expect. I will say we are also trying to figure what to do about my fiances younger brother. His father is not onthe birth certificate and a paternity test was never done. He has several felonies, does not work, have a vehicle, or his own home. He lives with his father. He's unfit and so we are planning to try and get guardianship over him? Not sure what steps to take to get that done...

As far as her checking out and past bills, so long as we send out a death certificate will some of those outstanding debts be taken care since they were in her name only? Sorry this is so long, just really stressed.

Thanks for any helpful advie or experience.

Asked by sweetheart02202 1 hour ago 4 days left to answer.

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4 Answers

  • 9 years ago

    Since there is real estate involved, the estate will have to be probated. The daughters can be appointed as co-administrators. The mortgage company needs to be told of the death, and there probably will have to be a change in both the deed and mortgage. The question will be whether the daughters can qualify for a mortgage. If the mortgage is through a local bank, and the house has been in the family for a long time, you may be able to work things out.

    If there is a lot of equity in the house (value minus liens like mortgages), the creditors will have to be paid. State law probably gives them a limited amount of time (usually a year) to file claims against the estate. If the estate is not probated, the creditors may be able to file a claim in court and get a judgment with no time period, so the house could be at risk for years. Sending out a death certificate to creditors does not extinguish the debt. The estate is liable for the debts.

    Someone needs to notify SS or the state agency handling the SSI, since a new representative payee will have to be appointed for the son. If the boy's father is the rep payee, that won't be necessary unless a different person is appointed guardian.

  • 9 years ago

    My experience is very limited, but there's usually no way to avoid probate. People often end up in probate even if there was a will. This is because the deceased's creditors can make claims against the estate, and then the heirs can get whatever's left once the creditors are satisfied.

    I don't know what will happen with the mortgage; that's an ask-a-professional question.

  • 9 years ago

    You need to talk to an attorney that specializes in estate and probate matters, even though your fiance's mother did not have a will.

  • 9 years ago

    It still has to go through probate.

    When someone dies without a will, then they died 'intestate'.

    The states all have laws on the books dealing with intestacy, how the estate is divided etc.

    The reason is HAS to go through probate, is so that things such as the property etc can be released to the next of kin or, whoever inherits it according to the laws of your state.

    To understand who is entitled to what portion of the estate, google 'intestate matrix (your state)' You will learn a lot by searching through the articles.

    The house belongs to the estate at the moment, every person who was owed money by her at the time of the death can now only go after the estate and whatever assets the estate has, this includes the house. Can they force the sale of the house in order to satisfy the debts? Maybe, depends on state law, and equally it would depend on the amount of the debts.

    The mortgage has the right to insist that the house either be sold to satisfy the remaining debt, or be refinanced in another name.

    As for the youngest son. That's an entirely different matter. That's a family court issue. While I realize that his name may not be on the BC, he can easily ask the court for a paternity test, if he is the biological father, the son will go to him by default unless you can prove him unfit. Actually, if he has acted as the father throughout the boys life, some states will give him custody even if he ISN'T the biological father.

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