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Probate Without a Will

Handling a Decedent's Estate With No Will to Guide You

When someone dies intestate, that means he or she died without a Will. In intestate estate administration cases, South Dakota law provides a set of rules that specify the rights of family members to inherit the decedent's property in a prescribed order.

The responsibilities of the person assigned by the probate court to handle the estate's affairs, however, are much the same as those of the executor of a Will. The main difference is that you look to the state intestate succession laws instead of the terms of a Will for guidance about estate administration and asset distribution.

Just as the responsibilities will be much the same, so will the questions and the potential for mistakes. If you are named the personal representative for an intestate estate, contact the Helsper, McCarty, and Rasmussen Law Firm to learn how you can get through the process without wasted effort or liability to heirs or creditors.

Intestate estate administration can be simple or complicated, depending on many factors:

  • Are there questions as to the ownership of the estate's assets?
  • Are all of the decedent's heirs known and easy to notify?
  • How extensive are the claims of creditors against the estate?
  • What will the estate's tax liability look like?
  • Will you need to recover assets improperly transferred out of the estate?
  • How easy will it be to liquidate the assets?
  • Will there be disputes between statutory heirs or others with claimed interests in the estate?

Just like the executor of a Will, the personal representative in an intestate estate assumes fiduciary duties to the estate and its heirs. The advice of an experienced probate lawyer can help you avoid mistakes and potential liability if you have been appointed as a surviving spouse or next of kin.

An experienced estate administration attorney can help simplify the probate process for you. Contact Helsper, McCarty, and Rasmussen Law Firm today.