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Cancer: Lung Message Board

what happens if no will?

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Old 03-05-2003, 02:00 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: memphis, tn, usa
Posts: 70
hope1220 HB User
Question what happens if no will?

Things are progressing pretty fast it seems. Mom is going downhill her lung ca was diagnosed 2/02 and believe it may have spread to her colon -terrible way to go. And dad was diagnosed with lung ca 2/03 that has already spread to liver, spleen, both adrenals and bone. He is in tremendous amount of pain and is in and out of consciousness with the medication. Surprisingly he was dx last and seems to be the worst. At any rate the question at hand. My parents are by no means "rich" but invested wisely and own several properties and a couple of houses - but they have never written a will. I know I should discuss this with them or suggest that one of my siblings talk with them but we just can't be open about talking to them about them dying!! I cannot bring myself even now when things get so bad I just hold their hand and say "it will be ok - don't worry" but I can't bring myself to act like to them that they are dying - I know they are and I know they know they are but I can't say it aloud or talk to them about it. So that being said -- does anyone know what happens if they both die without a will? Will the children be allowed to try and divide everything? or does the state immediately take over and force the sale of items? Thanks - Hope B.

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Old 03-05-2003, 03:29 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 93
NancyEllen HB User

Hope, I have only been on these message boards since 2/03 but have learned so much. When someone in your family is dying, they may be worried about passing if they haven't taken care of unfinished business, like setting up a will for their children. It is a very worrisome thing and even if it is painful to discuss, it might be a relief to your parents if you take care of it for them. I ordered the book "Final Gifts" Saturday from recommendations here. It sounds like an amazing book.

If there is no will, I believe probate court will assign someone to take care of their estate.

Let us know how everything is. Please keep posting. Your parents are in my prayers.

Old 03-05-2003, 04:28 PM   #3
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 158
LeisaH HB UserLeisaH HB User

Hope.... yes, things will go to probate court and you will lose out on items that may be very sentimental for you and your family...get your parents to talk about a will, get a lawyer in there and maybe even video tape if they can not write.... This is very important! Wills are very important not just the wishes, as it turns out mom had not redone her will and she spoke to me about her wishes and after the cancer moved to her brain, she talked to my sister about something totally different. At the point she had talked to me, I thought that the will was up to date. Now I wish I had pushed a bit more.

Nancy the "Final Gifts" is a truely amazing book.... I recommend it to all the people I know. Enjoy it, read it, even mark pages......


Old 03-05-2003, 05:02 PM   #4
Mary Grant
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 90
Mary Grant HB User

Hope, to add to other posts: probate is very expensive. If your parents did a revocable living trust with your name(s) on the trust, the property goes to you without any additional title changes or probate costs. Attorneys fees for court probate hearings can mount mightily.

As far as who receives property if a person dies intestate (without a will): each state's laws are different. The order of sucession is usually parents, then children, or if the children are minors, then to the guardian (hoping there is one) and then on to other various family matters.

Here in California, a person can get a list of attorneys from the State Bar and consult with an attorney for $35. The work an attorney might do to set up the trust, however, could be $1000-3000 or more--it depends upon the attorney and the amount of work to be done. You should definitely consult with one as soon as possible. You should also get a power of attorney from your parents so you can pay their bills while they are ill. Do they have a document on file about medical treatment? This is all so hard to do, but you will be very, very glad you did.

Good luck.


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