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How do we obtain a Letter of Testamentary? Deceased had no will and no assets.

Lawrenceville, GA |

My sons are inheriting assets from grandparents. Their father is deceased-left no known assets and grandparents bank/IRA is asking for a Letter of Testamentary. What do we need to do to obtain this?

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Attorney answers 4


If there was no will, you will not be able to obtain Letters Testamentary. You can get Letters of Administration, which are the equivalent when there is no will.

You, or another appropriate person, would need to file a Petition for Letters of Administration in the county where the person died. This is essentially how you begin to probate the estate of someone who's died without a will.

If you can't afford an attorney, a great self-help resource is That site can answer a lot of questions and even provides some of the basic forms to get the process going.

If you have further questions, call me at 770-904-5115. The information and opinion rendered herein is done as a courtesy and is for general informational purposes. Nothing herein may be construed by any party as to give rise to an attorney-client relationship.


The estate need to be probated. You need to retain an attorney.

Darrell B. Reynolds Attorney and Counselor At Law
2385 Lawrenceville Highway,
Suite, D
Decatur, Georgia. 30033


What was the order of death. If the grandparents died first and the son was the beneficiary of their assets then those assets are the son's and probate my be necessary. Letters are issued by a probate court to the personal representative. You need to consult a local attorney and present all the facts.

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I agree with my colleagues, but I would point out that you appear to have an unusual situation. IRAs are contracts that work on beneficiary designations. If there were beneficiaries designated, then the IRA would pass outside of probate and no letters would be required from the court. So you need to review this with the bank to determine if there were beneficiaries or not. If there was no beneficiary named on the IRA, or if the beneficiary was deceased, then there could have been contingent (or secondary) beneficiaries. If the beneficiary was deceased and there were no contingent beneficiaries, then it appears the bank is taking the position that the IRA passed through the father's estate and not the grandparents. This is not a simple situation, however, and it may require review by a probate attorney. You will certainly need an attorney to assist you with probating the father's estate. There could be other intervening interests that would interfere with your sons' inheritances, depending on what took place.

James Frederick

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