What do we do if mother died without will or power of attorney appointed? 3 Answers as of May 09, 2011

My mother just died yesterday without a power of attorney or will. There are three of us kids remaining and two of us have to fly out here for this. My sister has said she has legal guardianship but we have no legal proof of it. We decided to have her cremated and she is threatening to keep all ashes. What kind of legal rights do us other two children have or does she actually legally have rights to make all decisions and to keep all her belongings? She just moved out to Oklahoma two months ago and we believe she received improper care but cannot get any information due to our one sister brainwashing everyone. What can I do to find out if she is just manipulating us to believe her or if we actually have rights too?

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Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
It sounds like she is manipulating you and your sibling. Nobody has more power over the situation than any other - until a court decides who gets to run things. Consult with an attorney right away who handles Estates and file to become the Administrator instead of her and you'll then see a distinct change in her demeanor. A Power of Attorney is extinguished upon the death of your mother. Same for Guardianship. The only thing that controls is a Will and if there is none, then a Probate or Surrogates Court Judge must make a decision as to who should take over control of everything. Certainly, your sister cannot do that on her own without a court order. Speak to an attorney as soon as you can.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/9/2011
The Schreiber Law Firm
The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
Any Power Of Attorney and any "guardianship" terminates at death, so she has no right to you anything with you mother's remains or her property. If there is no will, then the intestacy laws of the state where you live control who is entitled to the estate of your mother. The laws generally give all of the state to the surviving spouse first, and if there is none, equally to the children.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/6/2011
Apple Law Firm PLLC
Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
Florida statutes define how assets are distributed in the case where someone dies without a will, We have a Florida Probate handbook that is free that explains it. Let us know if you would like a copy.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 5/6/2011
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