Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply,but rest assured, I am working on your question.
Did anyone ever file a probate case to settle her estate?
Ok, if mother was entitled to those funds, then it is her estate that is now entitled to those funds. Only the legal representative of the estate would be able to claim those funds. And they can only be appointed after filing a probate petition in the local probate court and being appointed by a judge.
Once they were appointed as representative of the estate, then they could pursue collecting any assets that the estate was entitled to and then disbursing them to the heirs after paying all debts of the estate.
They can't give you "legal advice" and they can be lazy and use that as an excuse to not answer simple questions. If you ask them "how do I go about filing a probate case?" they won't tell you because that could be interpreted as giving legal advice. But if you ask them "what forms are required to open a probate case?" they can then tell you "Form 1, Form 2, Form 3...." and so on, because that is not "advice".
I don't know where you are located, but most courts have workshops on how to complete probate forms to file if you aren't able to get a guide or handbook by visiting the actual probate court. Calling them on the phone is not very useful because they can just blow you off. So you will have to actually go to the court in the county where mother lived when she passed in order to file the petition to open probate.
If they don't have any resources to help, you may have to decide whether it is worth hiring an attorney to assist depending on the amount of money we are talking about. If it is only a few hundred to a couple thousand, it wouldn't be financially practical to hire an attorney. You could also contact the local Legal Aid office in the county where mother passed to see if they had any guides. This is such a common situation that virtually all courts have guides available at the courthouse to help non-attorneys navigate the probate process.
How much money are we talking about here?
And are the funds being held by the state unclaimed property office?
Where did you find out that there was unclaimed money?
Ok, you can file an 5.10 Application for Summary Release if the estate is under $5,000 and a 5.11 Entry for Summary Release and the judge can sign off on it and allow any personal property or money to be delivered to you.
File these forms (if there is not an original Will):
Some of the above might not apply to you..