Richards, TX asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas

Q: If my father just died and had no will! SIL says we will go to jail if we go there! FIL had no debt

My FIL died made me medical power of attorney no will has three at least properties that we no of mayb more but has no will what are our next steps! Also trying to plan a burial but family won’t way in options what do I do

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1 Lawyer Answer
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: The Medical Power of Attorney and any Durable [Financial] Power of Attorney were effective only during her lifetime.

You and any siblings can bury her. Most (maybe all) funeral homes will require agreement before cremating. If you and your siblings cannot agree, there is going to be a big bill for keeping the body on ice. Eventually, whoever is appointed administrator of her estate can decide and pay the bill out of the estate.

You can apply to probate (prove) her estate and settle her affairs by hiring a probate attorney who practices in the county in which she lived and died to help you file an Application for Determination of Heirship and Issuance of Letters of Administration. A less expensive procedure, a Small Estate Affidavit, could be used IF (1) the burial/cremation/donation had been handled; (2) she left no more than a home, up to $60,000 in furniture, etc. and up to $75,000 in other property (such as a ban account); and (3) all heirs and two witnesses who would not inherit signed, promising to pay all her debts and divide what remains according to the Texas laws of heirship.

Nina Whitehurst agrees with this answer

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