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Start of Probate Process without a Will

If a loved one has passed away without a will, the laws of intestacy will govern how their estate is handled. The closest kin can apply to the Register of Wills to be designated as the administrator of the estate. They will also be granted a short certificate has proof of their authority to handle the estate.

The administrator would then have the responsibility for identifying all the assets and debts as well as beneficiaries and their contact information and maintaining the estate until final distribution. If the decedent was married and does not have any children or surviving parents, the entire estate goes to their surviving spouse. If there were parents, the first $30,000 goes to the surviving spouse as well as half of the remainder of the estate.

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If there are children of the marriage, the first $30,000 goes to the surviving spouse as well as half of the remainder of the estate also. If there are children of the decedent only, the surviving spouse gets half of the estate. The remaining half of the estate, or in the event the decedent is not married, the entire estate, shall pass in the following order: (1) to the decedent's children; (2) to the decedent's parents; (3) to the decedent's siblings or their children; (4) to the decedent's grandparents; (5) to the decedent's aunts and uncles and their children and grandchildren. If there are multiple persons in a category, they will each receive equal shares such that a decedent with three children would have the estate separated into thirds.

Click here to read more about estate planning.

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