Intestacy is the legal term for dying without a Will. When someone passes, and they have a Will, they die “testate.” Thus, when someone passes without a Will, they die “intestate.” The process of opening the intestate estate is similar to probating a Will. The administration is begun at the Register of Wills office in the county where the decedent passed. The decedent’s spouse or next of kin takes the decedent’s death certificate to the Register of Wills and opens the intestate estate. In this case, letters of administration are granted. There are specific rules on how this must be accomplished and who is able to begin the process and to administer the estate. We can assist you each step of the way, even if no Will can be found.

When a loved one dies, with or without a Will, one of the first responsibilities of the personal representative is to gather all of the decedent’s assets. In some cases, this is relatively easy. In others, it is similar to detective work! There are those among us who keep everything in order, all the bills and investments in neatly coordinated files. When they pass, we open the drawer, go through the files and find everything we need. Others are less organized, or are more secretive for any number of reasons. When we open the drawer we find notes, some bills, old typewriter ribbons and an assortment of useful and useless information. It is the job of the personal representative to come to a definitive answer to the question “what did the decedent own at the time of death?”

We can assist you with gathering the assets. We have experience in unearthing hidden “treasures” of assets from generations-gone-by.

Return to Practice Areas