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My mom's (85 yrs old) husband died and she doesn't know what her responsibilities are. How does she find the executor, if any?

Amherst, NY |

The deceased had very few assets if any (owned a very old car, rented the apt, etc) that we know of. The deceased's son is very shady and took all of his files right after he died. And he won't say if he is the executor or not. Mom is receiving bills as well as a check made out to the Estate. She doesn't want to get in trouble with debtors but also doesn't want to pay bills if the son is actually the executor.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. File for administration in surrogates court. Ask for your mother to be appointed the administrator. If the son has a will, then he will present it to the court and you will know.

    If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or www.mynewyorkcitylawyer.com.


  2. The first thing that needs to be determined is whether he died intestate or not. If he had a will, the will needs to be located in order to determine who is the executor. If he died intestate (without a will), there is no executor, but an administrator that gets appointed.

    Taking a step back, depending on the size of the estate and whether the assets where jointly or individually owned, probate or an administration may not be necessary. You should consult with a local attorney who practices in probate and administrations. If you and your husband executed wills, it might be wise to speak with the attorney who drafted them, as he may be holding the originals and should be able to give you some more direction.

    The information provided herein is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice or legal opinion. You should not rely upon the information provided at this site without seeking individual advice from an attorney. No attorney-client relationship can be assumed or created by this post.


  3. The prior answers provide good insight. First try to talk to the son but if fruitless get mom with an estate/probate attorney who can file for her to be named administratrix of the estate. If there is no will the laws of instestate succession apply. Do this immediately.

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is <http://frommtaxes.wordpress.com/> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.


  4. As the other answers have indicated, having your mother meet with an attorney and submit a petition for letters of administration may force the deceased's son to show his hand and produce the will. However the issue is that by electing to proceed as though there is no will then your mother becomes bound by the rules of intestacy in New York. This would mean that as spouse she would be entitled to the first $50,000 of the estate and half the remainder with the rest being distributed to the children of the deceased. If the decedent had a will that disinherited his son then the son may wind up getting a windfall by simply keeping his mouth shut about the will.

    You need to meet with an probate and estate litigation attorney in order to determine the best path to proceed along.

    This communication is neither a solicitation nor an offer to represent you. The information provided to you in this communication is not intended to create and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the Law Office of Daniel A. Jimenez P.C.

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