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Appointing a representative in the USA when death occurs

Appointing a representative in the USA when death occurs

Old Jun 22nd 2012, 12:51 am
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Default Appointing a representative in the USA when death occurs

Hi all. My brother, a UK citizen, died in the USA. The family would like to appoint a friend of his in the USA to deal with various matters on our behalf, including retrieving his personal property. Can anyone tell me what documentation may be required as proof that next of kin have appointed a representative to act on our behalf? Very difficult to get that information here in the UK. Many thanks. Katie
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Old Jun 22nd 2012, 1:19 am
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Default Re: Appointing a representative in the USA when death occurs

Originally Posted by weedipsy View Post
Hi all. My brother, a UK citizen, died in the USA. The family would like to appoint a friend of his in the USA to deal with various matters on our behalf, including retrieving his personal property. Can anyone tell me what documentation may be required as proof that next of kin have appointed a representative to act on our behalf? Very difficult to get that information here in the UK. Many thanks. Katie
Google "Power of Attorney".

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Old Jun 22nd 2012, 1:21 am
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Default Re: Appointing a representative in the USA when death occurs

Sorry to hear about your loss.

Did he have a will? next question is what state did he live in?
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Old Jun 22nd 2012, 1:32 am
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Default Re: Appointing a representative in the USA when death occurs

Sorry for your loss!

But yes, the answer will probably depend on the state he resided in.
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Old Jun 22nd 2012, 2:15 am
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Default Re: Appointing a representative in the USA when death occurs

Probably the most practical approach is for you to ask the friend in the US to consult with a family law attorney in the area where your brother died.

The attorney should be able to give advice about what can be done.

If your brother had a will then that will govern what happens to the estate.

If he didn't have a will then the laws regarding intestate estates will apply - exactly what that means will depend on the state.

Either way, the estate will most likely have to go through probate (although some states have a fast track process for small estates which avoids much of the expense and complexity).

A simple power of attorney should allow the friend (or an attorney) to act on your behalf, but you also have to figure out who is going to be acting of behalf of your brother's estate - and that depends on his will (if any) and the local laws.
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Old Jun 23rd 2012, 1:42 am
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Default Re: Appointing a representative in the USA when death occurs

Thanks all. My brother had no will, that we are aware of, and lived in Texas. I'm not sure if Power of Attorney means the same in the USA as it does in the UK. Perhaps I should consult a UK solicitor first?
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Old Jun 23rd 2012, 2:05 am
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Default Re: Appointing a representative in the USA when death occurs

Originally Posted by weedipsy View Post
Thanks all. My brother had no will, that we are aware of, and lived in Texas. I'm not sure if Power of Attorney means the same in the USA as it does in the UK. Perhaps I should consult a UK solicitor first?
You should read up on Texas probate laws and intestate rules. If I were you I'd be on a plane to Texas asap to sort this out.
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Old Jun 23rd 2012, 2:09 am
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Default Re: Appointing a representative in the USA when death occurs

Originally Posted by weedipsy View Post
Thanks all. My brother had no will, that we are aware of, and lived in Texas. I'm not sure if Power of Attorney means the same in the USA as it does in the UK. Perhaps I should consult a UK solicitor first?
A UK solicitor is unlikely to be able to give you any useful advice.

You need the services of an attorney in Texas who is familiar with the probate process and who can advise you what the procedures for handling your brother's estate will be.

If he did not have a will then the laws regarding intestate estates will have to be be followed - typically a surviving spouse and any children are first in line, followed by the parents and then the brothers and sisters of the deceased.

Many states (I do not know if Texas is one of them) require that the executor or administrator of an intestate estate be a resident of that state.

I understand that you just want to get all of this sorted out as simply and as quickly as possible, but it is now largely out of your hands - the Texas probate process will take its course and you really need local representation in Texas to advise you of what your rights and standing in the case are.

Also, it is too early to be thinking about a power of attorney because, right now, as far as I can tell, you don't actually have any power over you brother's estate or property that you can delegate to anyone else and you won't end up with any such powers unless a Texas probate court gives them to you.

Last edited by md95065; Jun 23rd 2012 at 2:26 am.
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Old Jun 23rd 2012, 3:39 am
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Default Re: Appointing a representative in the USA when death occurs

Originally Posted by weedipsy View Post
Hi all. My brother, a UK citizen, died in the USA. The family would like to appoint a friend of his in the USA to deal with various matters on our behalf, including retrieving his personal property. Can anyone tell me what documentation may be required as proof that next of kin have appointed a representative to act on our behalf? Very difficult to get that information here in the UK. Many thanks. Katie
Further to the answers already given, some of which missed the point of your question...

First, and possibly hardest, next of kin needs to be established. Texas law will presumably apply.

Once that is done, a power of attorney could be appointed, who would be your local friend.

A local solicitor in UK ought to know this, and be able to liase with a local Texas lawyer I would imagine, to get this done. (your friend could find a Tex lawyer)
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