Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
My name is***** have over 16 years experience in the law. Should you like to chat on the phone I am happy to for a nominal cost. Let me know at any time during our question and answer session if you are interested I am happy to give you more details.I am sorry for your recent loss as well as the dilemma it has created.At this point, because he has passed, the only way to access the accounts will be via the probate process.
The purpose of probate (or at least one of the purposes) is to allow "settlement of accounts" of the deceased. Once you open probate, the executor (the person who is managing the probate) will have authority (from the probate court) to manage the accounts of the decedent. This would allow you to pay the valid debts and distribute the remaining assets to the heirs.The fact there is no will is not a problem...the CA intestate laws will determine who the heirs of the estate are.And it MAY be she can avoid hiring a lawyer...this will depend, frankly, on the value of the estate.If the value of the estate is $150K or more it will require a full probate (so you would need to hire a lawyer)
But if the value is less than $150K? Then you can probate via affidavit. This is something you can do yourself (not required you hire an attorney). The CA courts has a page explaining the process herehttp://www.courts.ca.gov/10440.htmBot***** *****ne: Mom will be able to probate this...either herself or with the help of a lawyer...that will allow access to the accounts so you can pay the bills and distribute the estate to the heirsPlease let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.