My 45 year old unmarried son recently died in an automobile accident , without a will.As parents , how do my husband and I handle his affairs. His house will soon be in foreclosure and no one from the bank will speak to us.What do we do, if anything and how do we handle his affairs?
6 Answers from Attorneys
To represent your son's estate, it is necessary for you to be appointed as the "personal representative" of the estate. That is accomplished through the filing of a Petition for Administration in the Circuit Court for the county in which your son resided at the time of his passing, or the county in which the real property is located. If there is no will, the Petition for Administration will be for an Intestate estate.
If you son was not married and has no children, then you, as his parents, are his heirs under the Florida intestacy statute. If he was married at the time of his death, or has children, then the surviving spouse and children are his heirs. Pursuant to the Florida intestacy statute, a surviving spouse has the first priority to be appointed as the personal representative of an intestate estate, adult children second, and then the parents.
If you are the only heirs of your son's estate, then you can proceed with the probate without the assistance of counsel, though I would suggest that you do retain a local probate attorney to assist you. If you son was married or has children, then it is necessary that the personal representative retain a Florida probate attorney to assist with the probate.
You can find additional information about the Florida probate process at our website: www.thecolemanlawfirm.net/Florida_Probate_Law.html.
Good luck and let me know if we can be of service to you.
C. Randolph Coleman
So sorry to hear of your loss. YOu can do a short administration since your son was not married and it will give you the authority to speak on his behalf to the nitwits when you tell them that your son has passed. Please know - you are not responsible for his debts so do not attempt to pay them. As to the house - if you wish to keep the house - then you will have to make arrangements with the lender as to keeping the house and paying the payment. If you do keep the house, then a short administration will not surfice as you will need to file for the homestead exemption of the property and thus will need a Summary Administration and an attonrey will have to do the probate for you. If I can be of assistance, please contact my office. Having lost my son two years ago, I know what it is like to call these people to make good on something and they tell you they can talk to you.
Depending on how he died, you may have a claim for wrongfull death.
You will need to meet with an attorney to fully review over proper steps. Is there a probate administration? Is there a wrongful death action? What are the steps applicable to your situation? No one can fully answer it at this time.
There are several possibilities, as other attorneys have pointed out, but without a proper review it is impossible to know what are your next steps, if any. In some cases there is nothing for you to do. It depends upon whether it is worth pursuing.
If I can be of help, please let me know. 888-475-1732.
You need to sit down with an experienced attorney who can answer your questions. You may not need to do anything, based on your question.
Sorry to hear of your loss. To determine next steps, you should meet with a probate attorney. Depending on the assets involved, probate may or may not be necessary but there are also other issues that will likely need to be addressed. Should you have further questions or require assistance, please feel free to contact me.