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Daniel Solutions
Daniel Solutions, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 9934
Experience:  Practicing Attorney for over 20 years and College Professor for over 10 years
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My sister in law passed away in Michigan, all family lives

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My sister in law passed away in Michigan, all family lives out of state. She has no assets, except a 10 year old car and lots of debt. No will or other instructions were left. Need access to her apartment to obtain SS # and bank information etc. Landlord is asking for executor or POA authority to enter apartment, how do we get this? She is survived only by 2 sisters and 1 brother, no spouse nor children.

Thank you for allowing us to assist you with this problem.

I am sorry to hear the your sister has passed.

A POA will not be possible because only your sister would be able to provide one and even if you already had a POA, the POA would terminate upon the passing of your sister. You need to be appointed as the Representative/Adminstrator of your sister's estate.

You need to file an application to be appointed the Personal Representative with the Probate Court in the County where your sister lived. You can contact the appropriate county to request the application. The completed application is submited and a judge would provide you with a letter of adminstration which would allow you legal authority to access her apartment, contact creditor and handle her estate. It sounds like her estate is insolvent (she owes more debt than she owed assets), so you may be able to wrap up the estate by providing her creditors with a copy of the Death Certificate and proof she was insolvent after paying burial costs.

Again, I am sorry for loss,


Daniel Solutions and 7 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. Yes her estate is 99.999% likely insolvent. Who her creditors are we have no idea.

We still have the problem of her social security number being unknown to us and it is a required field on all documents. Can you retrieve this for us? At what cost?


Hello again,

Once you are appointed as the Personal Representative of the estate then you would be able to access her bank accounts, financial information and credit information to obtain a full understanding of her assets and debts.

No, I do not have access to Social Security records. However; that is something you can obtain yourself for Social Security. You can make your request online or in writing.

To Make Your Request Online

Use online Form SSA-711 to get the:

  • Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5) of a deceased person; or
  • Computer extract of the Social Security card application.

To Make Your Request in Writing

Send your request in writing along with a check or money order payable to the Social Security Administration using the address and fee schedule below. Include:

  • The person's full name, date and place of birth, and parents' names (including the mother's maiden name).

Social Security Administration
Office of Privacy and Disclosure
617 Altmeyer Building
6401 Security Boulevard
Baltimore, Maryland 21235
Fax: (410) 966-0869

The records are confidential so you will need to enclose a copy of the death certificate to prove she is deceased.

I believe the fee is $29 payable to the Social Security Department.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

A follow up question, after doing research and knowing she both died intestate and insolvent, can we not just leave it up to the State of Michigan to settle her affairs? Why should we incur expenses, other than funeral that we know will not be recouped? This includes to her landlord whom is not cooperating in allowing us access to her apartment? Can we not just abandon all? Can we let the state send out notices of death to the SSA, DMV & creditors etc? This may be our preferred course of action.

Your comments or thoughts?