Q: My dad lived in Tennessee and recently passed away. We couldn't locate a will.
He was found deceased in his home after being dead over a week, along with water damage turning into mold and fear of his passing being from Covid. His brother and I could not locate a will in his apartment. We did visit his bank to notify them of his passing. The only information we got in return was that they would put a hold on his account for 30 days. We were also told they'd pay the funeral expenses straight to the funeral home. After being told they hadn't after the 30 days and wouldn't even respond to the funeral director, I went to the bank. I was told I'd have to set up an estate account and was also informed he had a safety deposit box at the bank. They said he had the only key, it was not found with his belongings. I'm thinking there may be a will in there. Can I access that with my birth certificate, showing I'm his next of kin? I'm his only child and he never remarried. Where do I start? I live in NC, 2 hours away. This is also the first time I've had to deal with this.
A: What is the probable size of the Estate? What kind of properties? Did he have alot of creditors? These are questions for a competent attorney, not for what you think is the correct thing to do. You might need to file Probate, and you might not. Do not initiate Probate unless you think you need it. Most people die without Probate, much less a Will. Most importantly did he own land, which rarely goes through an Estate unless it is insolvent, and then you probably should not file Probate. Hire a competent attorney for advice first, then decide what is the best course of action.
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