Q: My son had an accident he was at fault for and died. He only had liability insurance. A lawyer for the occupants of vehicle he hit want to be administrator of his estate. He has no estate. The petition was sent to me as next of kin. My son did not reside with me. At the time of the accident he was living in his own apartment alone. Do I need a lawyer? Why? Should I petition to become administrator?
A: PA law will qualify only certain types of people to be Administrator of an estate. It follows the intestate statute and therefore next of kin is favored. However, it does allow a creditor, someone who is owed money, to qualify. I would need to know more, but the lawyer may qualify as his client has a personal injury claim against your son and now an estate needs to be open to have a legal party to sue. If you want to be administrator, you could contest the petition of the lawyer, and file your own in which you would request to be the Administrator. The lawyer would probably prefer that. The question is, do you want to be the Administrator? Is it worth the time and expense? What you are describing sounds like it could be an insolvent estate? Therefore, you should take all the papers to an attorney. Before you do, investigate what assets your son had. If your son had very little assets, it may not be worth it to you to be Administrator. There are costs involved in filing to open an estate, not to mention lawyer fees.