Estate Administration

What happens to Alice if I die? A Look at Gertrude Stein’s Last Will and Testament

Gertrude Stein died in 1946, just three days after writing her Will. No one imagined that 21 years later, her life partner, Alice Toklas, would die impoverished, half-blind, and half-deaf. During the later years of her life, Alice relied upon the goodwill and solicitations of friends to keep a roof over her head. What went wrong with Alice’s Will that resulted in the of her life dying in poverty?

Does a Last Will and Testament Avoid Probate?

When a person passes away, someone has to step up and take care of everything that the person left behind. The person who died is called the “decedent.” The person who steps up is called the personal representative. Everything that is left behind is called the estate.

The personal representative might be an executor who is nominated in the decedent’s will, or they might be an administrator who is allowed to apply under the statutes.

The person who wants to step up as the personal representative completes the application in the local County Surrogate’s office. If everything is in order, the representative will take an oath and be sworn in and designated to act on behalf of the decedent.