If a relative dies without a Will, and you are chosen to distribute assets to family members, you will most likely find it is not a simple process, according to the Napa Valley Register in "Mom died with no will. Now what?"
You cannot just start handing property out to other people. This is especially true if the property in question is real estate. You will need the necessary legal authority in order to transfer those assets. In order to obtain that authority you will need to go to probate court and ask a judge to appoint you as the personal representative of the Estate. Once you secure that designation, you will have the legal authority to collect and distribute the decedent’s Estate. However, you cannot just distribute the assets in anyway you wish.
Although every estate administration presents its own unique circumstances and challenges, the process of administering an Estate in a modern world is usually much more complex and time consuming than most people realize. Estate administrations (even those with Wills) present the person administering the Estate with numerous requirements and tasks that must be performed in a timely manner, and most people simply do not have the knowledge, the skill or the time required to properly complete them. Unfortunately, many people will attempt to administer the estates of their loved ones without professional assistance, and they eventually become frustrated, confused and intimidated when they encounter procedures/issues with which they are not familiar. As a result, such people either encounter substantial difficulty in completing certain tasks or unknowingly fail to fulfill all of their responsibilities (which will likely lead to some form of litigation or other adverse ramifications). In most circumstances, the assistance of experienced professionals is absolutely essential to the proper administration of an Estate.
An experienced estate administration attorney can assist you if you find yourself in the difficult position of having to administer an Estate.
Reference: Napa Valley Register (Feb. 1, 2018) "Mom died with no will. Now what?"