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What next if loved one didn’t have a will?

By Chesley Payne

While having a will is the ideal situation, for those people who have loved ones who pass away without one, all is not lost.

There remain several options available to you. The first is to open an administration. In this instance, the administrator appointed by the Probate Court will not have the powers of a personal representative under a will. However, the administrator will have many of the powers desired to liquidate the estate, such as the maintenance of accounts and access to safety deposit boxes.

For those people who owned property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship with the loved one, there is no need to do anything, as the title of the loved one passed at death. For those unfortunate ones who didn’t own the deceased’s property in this way, permission must be gained prior to the sale of real property from the Probate Court.

An important item that often gets overlooked is that power of attorneys are no longer valid after someone dies. It’s important that those who have provided a power of attorney to their spouse or other family member or friend, make alternate arrangements to ensure that their estate can be transferred and liquidated upon their death. For those of you who worry about taxes, one last word of advice, for your estate to owe estate tax, it must be worth more than $5,340,000 in 2014.

To sum up, have a will, but if one was not drafted all is not lost, but the process can take slightly more time and expense.

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