i never got around to looking into this before because just turned of legal age. he had a 401k and i wanted to know how to receive the benefits as i am his next of kin?
Tatiana, A 401k is not typically subject to a will. 401(k) participants are given a form to complete in order to name their beneficiaries. A will does not typically override the beneficiary designation form. The 401k assets can become part of the probate estate if the estate was named the beneficiary. If there is no named beneficiary on the 401k survived your dad, the 401k assets might also become part of the probate estate.
If your dad died without a will, it is referred to as intestate. In this case, the probate court names an administrator to manage the estate. State intestacy laws will determine who receives your dad's property. The rules for each state differ on how property is divided in an intestate situation.
An administrator is responsible for doing a identifying and closing out one's estate. Most states make the surviving spouse, if any, the first choice. Adult children are usually next on their list, followed by other family members. The administrator that handled your dad's affairs may know how the 401k was handled.
The above is for information purposes only and is not considered tax, legal or other actionable advice. You should contact an attorney, account and/or financial planner on the specific details of your situation.
If you would like to discuss your situation in more detail or need help finding an estate attorney, please contact me.