How do I take care of my deceased mothers bank accounts? 8 Answers as of August 03, 2011

Mother in law passed, wouldn't help with any plans. Have no idea what monies she gets or how much. Has a mentally retarded daughter we are trying to find a nice place for. House has a reverse mortgage, house is full of antiques and stuff. We don't have enough money to pay for all the expenses for her funeral. There is no problem between siblings and their spouses. My question: who do we notify if we know practically nothing about her business accounts. Banks, power companies, telephone, water and sewer etc. Do we have to get out of the house asap. We are lost.

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Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
I am so sorry for your loss. By collecting mail addressed to your Mother you will be able to start to understand how her finances were being managed. Please contact an attorney as soon as possible for specific advice as to your next steps, which will include opening an Estate in Probate Court.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 8/3/2011
Apple Law Firm PLLC
Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
The best place to look is in her mail. You will get an idea of what she has and where the assets are located. A Florida probate lawyer can help deal with these issues.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/3/2011
Law Office of Matt Potempa, PLLC
Law Office of Matt Potempa, PLLC | Matt Potempa
You need to contact an experienced probate attorney as soon as possible. They will help guide you through the process of inventorying your mother-in-law's estate, providing creditors their legally-required notice and determining what steps are necessary to open, administer and ultimately close the estate. A creditor may also petition the probate court to open the estate. If you are living in the Decedent's home, you should certainly take action immediately to avoid an adverse action by a creditor of the estate or subjecting the estate to unnecessary costs, interests and administrative fees. Schedule a consultation with a probate attorney.
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 8/3/2011
The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
Unless someone was joint on her bank accounts (in which case that person would have access), the only way you will be able to get any information from banks, or anyone else for that matter, is to open a probate administration and have someone appointed as the personal representative.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/3/2011
Law Offices of Timothy G. Kearney, LLC
Law Offices of Timothy G. Kearney, LLC | Timothy G. Kearney
You will need to probate her estate. The first thing to establish is whether she had a will or not. Once a Fiduciary is appointed (Executor/Administrator) they will have authority to access and inventory what assets and debts the decedent had. The probate process can be a very challenging one and I would advise you to consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through this process. If I can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 8/3/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    As far as what bank accounts, etc., all you can do is look for old statements, bills, etc. If there is a reverse mortgage, the loan came due at her death and must be paid (by refinance or sale if there is any equity) or the lender can start foreclosure proceedings. Did she have a will? If not, then the intestacy laws will come into play which states who is entitled to the estate in the event there is no will. Generally, under intestacy laws, if she had no spouse, then the next in line are her children in equal shares. If she does have bank accounts, in California if the amount is under $100,000, the heirs can go to the bank with a certified copy of the death certificate and have the accounts transferred to the heirs. However, her bills and expenses are to paid before heirs receive anything.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Your question makes no sense. You say she was your mother and mother in law. That matters. Which is it? If you feel you have a claim in the estate, see a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Olson Althauser Samuelson & Rayan, LLP
    Olson Althauser Samuelson & Rayan, LLP | Todd S. Rayan
    You need either admit her will to probate or if there is no will have someone appointed as Administrator of the intestate estate. This will result in the issuing of letters testamentary (with will) or letters of administration (no will) and will legally entitle whoever is named to have full access to all accounts on behalf of the Estate. This can be a tricky and cumbersome procedural process that can be done on your own, however, you must be aware of the duties imposed by law on the appointed representative.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/3/2011
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