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Irwin Law
Irwin Law, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6919
Experience:  30+ yrs. handling probate estate, wills, trust, inheritance & real estate related matters
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My 3 brothers and I just lost our mother unexpectedly to a

Customer Question

My 3 brothers and I just lost our mother unexpectedly to a heart attack. She had no will and her estate is valued at less than $60,000. I spoke with my father, her ex-husband, who confirmed my mother's wishes that I, her oldest son, act on behalf of my brothers and speak for them as executor of her personal estate (includes no property), and in the final burial services for her. Her wishes were that her entire estate would be divided equally between the four sons, however, I have been advised that I must formally become the executor of her estate to access her small stock holdings and her bank account to settle up on any outstanding debts, and distribute any other belongings she had. I was told that I need to have my other brothers sign some statement or document agreeing with this and authorizing me to act as her executor
JA: Because laws vary from state to state, could you tell me what state is this in?
Customer: california
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: My father and I meet with a probate lawyer next week, but he informed us that her estate is too small ($40-$50,000), so we will be completing a small estates affidavit, but apparently to move forward with some issues, I need some statement or form signed and notarized by my brothers to confirm that I am to act on their behalf. Is there some form that we all can sign and have notarized for this purpose?
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: No, other than we will probably have to settle up on any outstanding debts she might have had, however minor, or do credit card companies forgive this in the event of a death? All probably minor.
JA: What state is this in? And when did the issue begin?
Customer: California, she died August 22nd, of congestive heart failure, age 62.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 4 months ago.

Good afternoon. I'm terribly sorry to hear about your mother's untimely passing. 62 years is not considered very old these days. You are headed in the right direction with the small estate proceeding. When you give the affidavit to whoever holds funds in your mother's name, they can distribute them directly to the four of you. That works fine if they issue separate checks; howeve, if they cut one check that may present problems in cashing it. The better way is for you to obtain a power of attorney from your brothers authorizing you to act on their behalf in receiving money based on the small estate affidavit. You can attach a copy of the power of attorney to the affidavit. The probate lawyer may have other ideas for you next week. I hope that this answers your question. If not, please feel free to send me a reply for further information. Experts on this site (myself) are compensated ONLY if the customer (yourself) "rate" or "accept" the answer.