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My brother died oct 8 2012, he had no insurance or will. He was never married and has no children. I took care of his funeral

Pittsburgh, PA |

I have stepped into the role of executor. He was an artist and has a plethora of works that I would like to use some to establish a foundation in his name.

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Attorney answers 5


A am sorry for the loss of your brother. Your options will depend partially on funds. If your brother was particularly wealthy, you can potentially invest his capital through a created foundation and use the interest for the purpose of the foundation.

If you have less funding, and will be using a model that seeks charitable donations, then a business attorney can help you establish a non-profit and will be able to take you through the steps to get to where you need to be.

Matthew Johnson phone# 206.747.0313 is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale negotiations, and estate planning in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. The response does not constitute specific legal advice, which would require a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter; rather, it is intended to be general legal information based on the limited information provided by the inquirer; it This response also does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established after a conflict of interest evaluation is completed, your case is accepted, and a fee agreement is signed. Johnson Legal Group, PLLC


Mr. Johnson has given you an excellent answer. I would simply add that, given your brief summary, it is not clear if there are other heirs or if you are the only one. If there are other heirs and you are acting as administrator of the estate, then you may be required to manage and distribute the assets for the benefit of others. You may need to get consent from the other heirs in order to proceed with your plans. A probate lawyer can assist you in determining what needs to be done.

James Frederick

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.


Great advice from both attorneys.

DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.


I am sorry for the loss of your brother.

The short answer to your question is that it is possible to use some of the plethora of works to establish a foundation in his name. However, there are a number of issues which you have to deal with in regard to concluding your late brother's affairs and to determine it is feasible or possible to establish a foundation in yoru brother's name.

Since your brother died without a Will, did he have any other surviving brothers and sisters, besides you, and any nieces or nephews? When a person dies without a Will, the Pennsylvania probate code lists an order of relatives who can inherit by law, based upon family relationship, and who can petition for appointment by law as the personal representative of the estate. Therefore, if there are any other brothers or sisters bsides you, and any nieces and nephews, this may have an impact upon your being appointed the personal representative of your brother's estate by the Allegheny County Clerk, and an impact on the decisions made regarding the disposition of the plethora of works left by your brother.

Also, there are a number of estate "issues" that would have to be resolved, including an appraisal of the art work, payment of your late brother's bills and and death taxes, reimbursing you for the amount of funeral expenses you advanced for him, and other potential expenses. Also, if there are other heirs of the estate besides you, the other members of the family who are are heirs will have a voice in the distribution of the art work or sales proceeds of the art. The other heirs may not agree to establishment of a foundation, and they may want a distribution of cash or pieces of art from your brother's estate.

I can't tell from your question if you have taken any legal steps to open an estate for your late brother. However, you are looking at a number of potential issues or questions regarding your brother's estate for which you will need sound legal advice and guidance to take care of your bother's affairs to deterimine if it is possible and feasible to establish a foundation in his name.


The prior answers have raised numerous proper questions in response to your initial question. Much of what you ultimately are able to do will depend upon your probating of the Estate, the funds available thereafter, and your intentions for the foundation.

As alluded to, your issues involve, not only estate administration questions, but also business law/non-profit law questions. While the answers do raise some key points, it is also clear that this is a field you may not want to navigate alone now.

My firm of 16 attorneys maintains an Estate practice section as well as a Non-Profit law group. We also have a free consultation policy. I would suggest a call to my office to, at least, discuss some of the issues presented in this Q&A so you can confidently decide your next move. Should you be so motivated, submit an e-mail to my attention to set up your consultation. Also, you may click on my profile for further information: