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The Power of Attorney is no longer valid. Once the principal passes away, the Power of Attorney the principal had signed becomes null and void and of no legal effect whatsoever.
What you have to do is this:
1. If your mother left a will, you have to admit the will to probate and the Court will issue Letters Testamentary which authorize you to carry out the terms of the will.
2. If there is no will, you have to have the Probate Court issue Letters of Administration to you to carry out your mother's wishes.
By the way, if your mother was not jointly liable on the debts incurred by your father, there is no legal obligation on the part of her estate to pay them
If you need to retain a lawyer, you should call the State and County Bar Association in the county in which the property is located; ask for their "Lawyer Referral" Service, tell them what your problem is and ask for the name of several attorneys. Consultations are usually under $25 and most of the time they are free. Speak to all of them, ask questions, then select the one with whom you feel the most comfortable.
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Thank you for allowing me to assist you and Good Luck!
ANDREA, JD, LLM
Member, NY & PA Bar
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