Technically, no, there's no statute of limitations on wills or other administration of estates. So if there are still assets in her name then those could be administered. The problem is with claims that the estate has against other individuals or the government. Claims against individuals and companies are between 2-6 years statute of limitations. So if the estate had any claim against anyone, it would have passed at latest in 1996. But any claims against the government for wrongfully taking property is much shorter (which makes sense if you think about it: after all, the government makes the law). You have to present a claim to the government with 1 year and 6 months of the government taking the items that don't actually belong to them. Assuming that the government took the property from the estate more than 1 year 6 months ago, it would be too late to bring a claim against them. Again, it's NOT too late to open an estate, but an "estate" is simply a "carrier" where you can have other legal claims that can be adjudicated, and THOSE have statutes of limitation on them. So only if there were still property in the estate could you handle those claims. Otherwise, the claims would have passed the statutes of limitation long ago.
I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.
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