What to do when someone dies without a will?

What to do when someone dies without a will?

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Not Making The Will

A will is a document that explains what your final wishes are pertaining to property, who the guardian of your children would be and other important ownership after the passing of the individual. Without this, your entire family would have to deal with all the decisions with who gets what which is already difficult and many cases that aren’t cheap. A will is very important to make things organized and less strain on everyone in the family tree. Look at frequently asked questions for more important information related to this topic and to see how important it is to get a will.

What You Can Do

The best thing you can do is file a probate that would be done in court it make sure you get a probate lawyer to avoid court fees and find info on other possible assets. Decisions would be decided upon court and among residents within the household. At least 1/3 of these funds will go to these residents. If someone was the spouse of the descendant with no other relatives, he or she would get that entire estate. If not, it is split between everybody but by the law of New York, the spouse would receive the first $50,000. There’s also filing a codicil. A codicil is any modifications that can be done and discussed between the residents of the household, attorneys and the courthouse or even a organization that can count as a beneficiary. They codicil should be no more than $100.


If you were in this situation, the court would assign an administrator or someone responsible of the estate of the descendent who would either be a spouse or a close relative. Then you would have to go through probate. There will be additional fees but you can always modify destinations of these assets left to you and with help of a professional probate lawyer. A probate lawyer is necessary in this situation and will give you the best assistance to make the situation less stressful.


1. Where Do I Keep My Will?

You should store the will in a safe but should be fireproof in case of a possible fire within the estate. You would have all the documents you need to save your money from this sort of incident. A safe deposit box should be avoided because your bank can limit access to the account after your death. At least one person you trust should know where your will is or file it but will be responsible as the representative unless announced in the will itself. Most important is that the will must be in an envelope.

2. Can I change my mind about my advance directive instructions?

Yes you can! You can also cancel the whole thing it at any time you want. It is important to look over your advance directive instructions often to make sure you get what you ask for. If you change or cancel these instructions, you need to make sure to let your health care proxy and family know.  This will help prevent any kind of possible confusion in the future.

3. Can I make a handwritten will?

You can make handwritten Wills but some states have different procedures when it comes to this which makes the process itself more complicated. It’s best to get an official legal document from an estate attorney because it’s more organized, effective, and official.

4. Is my Will valid if I move to another state?

The final Will you decide to document or file is valid across all 50 states and if you ever do move an estate to another state, there’s only filing your new estate in the place your moving to with simple instructions provided. It’s a different questionnaire depending on the state you decide to move too.

5. Can I disinherit my spouse?

When it comes to inheritance laws, you’re unable to disinherit your belongings from your spouse. Even if you decide to strain your assets from your wife or husband on your Will, you’re still unable to do so because of common law and being a “surviving spouse.”

6. Can an irrevocable trust be amended?

One thing you can do by is to remove assets you’ve written within the trust. You will still have the trust on file but it’ll be one that is empty. There’s also booking an appointment with the court through a trustee since he or she is responsible for making any adjustments as well in the trust even if it’s irrevocable. As long as there’s a good reason for the modification.

7.  How long do you have to work to collect unemployment in NY?

According to the official ny.gov website, you need to be working for at least a month and in file at least $2,700 in wages.Your base period also needs to be higher than your quarter wages.

8. What is an Estate Settlement?

An estate settlements is the process of a decedent’s estate being transferred  to an assigned trustee or beneficiaries. There’s also planning of who obtains all these assets but expenses that go with it all.

9. When should I make an advance directive?

The best time to make an advance directive is before you need one. In other words, before you become too sick to make your own decisions about what medical care you want to get or refuse.

10. Can I collect unemployment if I go to school?

To receive unemployment you need to document that you’re looking for work and enrolled in school to receive some benefits.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The content of this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this blog or contacting Morgan Legal Group.

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