Decedent Dies Intestate

It is important to know the laws in the state in which you reside to understand your position involving a death in the family and to avoid the frustration and confusion that results. Take time for family matters and the funeral. Most individuals search the internet to understand the probate of the will better. The information on the internet will provide enough information to acquaint an individual in this position with what will transpire in and out of a courtroom in their state. Knowledge is power, and because the “baby boomer generation” is passing on and leaving behind substantial wealth, it is essential to understand the process in which you will be involved. It is also important to hire a knowledgeable attorney specializing in estate and probate law and, if necessary, a forensic accountant.

Scenario

In one scenario, the sisters of a man with Alzheimer’s disease commandeered him and his estate by moving him from his home in another state and away from his daughter. His only heir, a daughter, was named the Executor in his original Last Will and Testament of which she had a copy. In the move, his sisters went to his safe deposit box removed the contents, including his original Will. They also closed his bank accounts and transferred the money to the other state. The man was placed in a nursing home, and just over one year, he died.

The sisters approached a judge through their attorney, indicating there was no will to be probated and that their brother died intestate. The sisters applied for an administration, posted a bond, and were appointed co-administrators to finalize the estate. The daughter, who was according to the original Will, to be the appointed administrator upon his death, was left out. The daughter had a copy of the Will, but state law prohibited a copy of the Will to be probated. The co-administrators pulled all the assets of the decedent together and prepared an inventory leaving out some of the assets. They then converted the assets to cash, some of the money they distributed to their children and the daughter. Some of the money was spent on the estate incurring attorney fees and other expenses. His pickup truck was given to one of his nephews. The co-administrators refused to provide any accounting to the daughter. Therefore, the daughter had to hire an attorney to negotiate with the co-administrators and their attorney. After months of wrangling with the co-administrators attorneys, some financial information was released. Unsatisfied with the resulting information, the daughter filed suit and had the co-administrators deposed.
During depositions that transpired, one of the administrators confessed that they had found the original Will in the safe deposit box and gave it to their attorney. The attorney retained the Will and represented to the court that there was no Will present. At this time, the case is still pending, and the attorneys are still negotiating to settle the matter.

In my opinion, this is a fraud on the court, and the daughter should be appointed as administrator and take over her father’s estate. They should have a full forensic accounting prepared on the assets converted to cash and determine the ultimate disposition of the money.

Decedent Dies with a Will

If your grandparent or parent dies and leaves a Last Will and Testament, it may be necessary to probate the Will. Initially, take time to tend to family matters and later speak with an attorney knowledgeable in estate and probate and bring the original Will for his review. Also, Read More