Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
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Did you complete the probate and receive and order from the court distributing the estate?
Okay, thanks for the information. So, is the probate still open?
I don't know what that means, sorry
Or did you never actually open a probate estate with the court?
That is correct
Probate is the court action legally required to transfer assets that your mother owned in her name only at the time of her death. Until that process is completed, those assets remain assets of her probate estate and you would not have any right to cash the checks. If I am understanding you correctly, you never completed a probate administration of her estate. If that is correct, then you would need to retain local counsel to assist you with probating your mother's estate. That would give you rights to her property, including the residual income.
The Arizona State Bar Association's website is a good place to check for a lawyer referral service. You might also try www.martindale.com. That is also a very good website for locating local counsel.
Ok That is clear. There is not enough at stake for this kind of action. Should I tell the sender's to stop sending the checks?
If the value is small (less than $50,000), you may be able to use a small estate affidavit. That would be very quick and inexpensive. Here is link for more information on that form:
Great! I'll give that a try
If that is not an option, then you can of course let them know that your mother didn't have enough assets to complete probate and ask if you can have the checks made payable to you if you agree to indemnify them in the event some other heir claims a right to the property and sues the company paying the royalties.
Let the union writing the checks know?
Yes, if the affidavit procedure doesn't work. They'll need to know about the affidavit too if it does work.
So they can make back and future checks payable to you.
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Absolutely. You were clear and very helpful. I know what I can do next. Have a great day!