Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Good morning. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you with this.
Can you provide me a bit more information? Can you tell me what assets were not in the trust as of the date of your mom's death? Thanks.
Thanks Jack for your quick reply. If these assets fall within one of the following you can avoid probate: i) joint brokerage and bank accounts which vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; ii) real property held as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety, which also vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; and iii) assets with designated beneficiaries other than the estate such as life insurance and retirement accounts. Otherwise, unfortunately, you will have to file a petition with the probate court to be appointed the administrator of the estate so the court can issue you official documentation evidencing that appointment. This is for your protection as well as the institutions holding her money so that they know you are the officially appointed person with the authority to act on behalf of the estate. Otherwise, anyone could go to the bank with a fake will and steal the assets. But, this process is not complicated although it will be necessary to have a lawyer help you with this.
Under my terms of service with JustAnswer, I'm not allowed to make a specific recommendation, but I can give you direction. You would want to either contact the state bar association or your nearest law school for a referral. I prefer the latter because they take great pride in their graduates and will take a more personal interest in making sure your referral is a good one because it will be a reflection of the school. But, this is not a complicated case so you would only need a 1-2 year lawyer rather than a more experienced lawyer with the higher billing rate that comes with that experience.
Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which fully addresses your question. If you have any follow up questions, please ask! If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service as OK, Good or Excellent (hopefully Good or Excellent). I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!