Stealing from the Mouth of Babes w/ Charmaine Salandy

In this episode of the legal Zone, legal client Charmaine Salandy joins us to discuss her ongoing legal matter involving what happens when a rogue family member decides to skip all legal processes after her mother passed away intestate, or without a will and sold assets before the probate process began. Join us as we discuss this incredible story.

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For the living know that they shall die, but the dead knows not anything!

Eccl. 9:5

If you know that the day is coming when you know you will not be able to COMMUNICATE with anyone then it goes without saying –you must plan and communicate ahead of death.

What is a Will?

A will, or a testament, is a person’s last statement - their last intended thought- their last communication to the living, that’s a will.

Think of your will as a last chance to clear the air, set the record straight, and to leave instructions on how you would like your belongings distributed.

This is your time, say what you want. Instruct as you may.

It is TOTALLY up to you.

Some people seem to leave strange things in their will.

Napoleon. We’ve all heard of Napoleon. His final wish was to have his head shaved, and his hair split among his friends.

Another example would be if a man left $5,000 to his closest friends provided they use it for a “boozy weekend getaway in any European city.” A man by the name of John Bowman set up a $50,000 trust. His instructions were that every evening, his servants were to prepare a full meal, set the table and serve dinner because he believed that he would return from the dead and so wanted to be sure that his dinner would be waiting for him. This happened from 1891 until 1951 when the money ran out.

Who is supposed to carry out these wishes or instructions of the deceased?

What is an Executor

An Executor is someone you name and trust who is under a legal obligation to carry out your wishes outlined in your will.

What Happens When Someone Dies With out a Will?


Intestate is the term used for when someone dies without a will. He died “intestate.” Means, he died without a will.

So what happens when someone dies Intestate?

Every state has a set of rules that govern the the distribution of the deceased’s belongings when the person died intestate.

If you are married with no children, typically 100% of your belongings will go to your spouse.

If you are not married and have children- some states split the belongings 50/50. Other states require ⅓ of the belongings to go to the spouse and ⅔ go to the children.

No spouse or children, and the deceased’s belongings go to the parents.

No spouse, no children, no parents—siblings

So forth and so on. If there is no family member whatsoever, and you die intestate. Your belongings will ultimately own your belongings.

Who Becomes the Executor When Someone Dies Intestate?

If you don’t name someone to carry out the distribution of your belongings, then who is responsible?

Well, it depends on who is living. It could be the spouse. It could be the children. It could be a sibling. Depending on who is left behind, will depend on who will become the de facto executor of the estate.

This person becomes legally obligated to carry out the statutory distribution of a deceased’s belongings and property.


What is Probate?

The term actually means the “proving of a will.” It’s a process that ensures that the wishes of the deceased are 1) Valid and true; and 2) carried out appropriately.

But if a person dies intestate–then what?

Probate, or in this instance, probate court, will ensure that the statutory distribution is carried out according to state law.

Who is Responsible for Carrying This to Probate?

Again, it depends on the deceased’s living family members.

But what happens if and when a rogue family member decides to skip out on ALL of this and take matters into his or her own hands?

Join us in this incredible discussion.


Video Participants:

Attorney John Salatti

Dr. Arlena Cheney

Attorney Solon Phillips

Sophie Dessources


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Founder and Managing Partner

Solon Phillips, Partner of the General Litigation Group at Remus Law Group, is an experienced legal professional with extensive experience working in large law firms while devoting much of his spare time to volunteer work in public service.


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