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.
The simplest way to find this out is to go through mother's paperwork and any financial records and statements from her bank to see who she was making payments to. Her bank statements should show any monthly payments, like her mortgage or car payments.
But in order to be able to have the creditors speak with her, your friend will have to file a probate case in the local probate court to be appointed executor (if there was a will) or Administrator (if no will). Then she would be the legal representative of the estate and could deal with any creditors to settle any debts.
If mother has a will in a safety deposit box, and friend can find the key, the bank should allow friend to remove the will from the box after they identify her, get a copy of her ID, and see a certified copy of a death certificate.
If she can't find the key, then she will have to file a probate case first and be appointed as Administrator, then access the box, get the will, and submit it to the court.
But until she is formally named Admin or executor, the bank won't give her copies of any statements. Mother should have them around her home saved somewhere like most people do..
She still has to file a probate case. A will is just a piece of paper until the court formally recognizes it and the nominated executor has no power until a judge formally appoints them. So once the judge enters the order appointing them to that position, they then have the legal authority to get any records for the deceased so they can begin to settle the estate.
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Have a great evening!