Legal Clarity: What if my relative dies without a will? (opinion) |

Legal Clarity: What if my relative dies without a will? (opinion)

Editor’s Note

Beginning this week, the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza will be publishing a monthly opinion/legal advice column from the attorneys and staff at Incline Law Group. Please send legal topics you would like addressed in future columns to

Incline Law Group LLP has been providing legal clarity for our clients for over 40 years in the areas of Real Estate/Real Property, Business law, Transactional law, Civil Litigation, Family law, and Estate Planning, including trust administration and probate. Our attorneys are licensed to practice in Nevada and California.

Incline Law Group welcomes the opportunity to present national and regionally relevant legal news and analysis in this column to our community, including our home, Lake Tahoe.

We hope to provide clear, concise, easy to use information and insights that are of interest and use to you, based on our legal knowledge and expertise. Below is our first column, on the topic of intestate succession:

If a person dies without a will or a trust, his or her real and personal property passes through a process known as intestate succession.

Intestate succession provides a distribution to the living heirs of the decedent pursuant to the statute in the state where the decedent was a resident when s/he passed away.

If the descendant left real property in another state, the intestate succession laws of that state will govern the disposition of that property.

When someone dies without a will, the estate will still have to go through a legal process. This will require filing the proper pleadings with the court in the appropriate jurisdiction.

Instead of appointing an executor of the will, the court will appoint an administrator of the estate. Similar to an executor, an administrator has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the estate.

The process for intestate succession follows almost exactly the same process as a probate. Depending on the estimated value of the estate, there may need to be a notice to creditors, an inventory and appraisement of value, as well as many other formalities to process the estate so that it can be properly distributed to the rightful heirs.

Jeremy L. Krenek is an associate attorney with Incline Law Group LLP in Incline Village. Visit to learn more.

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User