Hi, I will be happy to assist you, and it is my goal to make you a very satisfied customer! This may take a few minutes, so thanks for your patience.
Did you complete the probate and receive and order from the court distributing the estate?
Okay, thanks for the information. So, is the probate still open?
I don't know what that means, sorry
Or did you never actually open a probate estate with the court?
That is correct
Probate is the court action legally required to transfer assets that your mother owned in her name only at the time of her death. Until that process is completed, those assets remain assets of her probate estate and you would not have any right to cash the checks. If I am understanding you correctly, you never completed a probate administration of her estate. If that is correct, then you would need to retain local counsel to assist you with probating your mother's estate. That would give you rights to her property, including the residual income.
The Arizona State Bar Association's website is a good place to check for a lawyer referral service. You might also try www.martindale.com. That is also a very good website for locating local counsel.
Ok That is clear. There is not enough at stake for this kind of action. Should I tell the sender's to stop sending the checks?
If the value is small (less than $50,000), you may be able to use a small estate affidavit. That would be very quick and inexpensive. Here is link for more information on that form:
Great! I'll give that a try
If that is not an option, then you can of course let them know that your mother didn't have enough assets to complete probate and ask if you can have the checks made payable to you if you agree to indemnify them in the event some other heir claims a right to the property and sues the company paying the royalties.
Let the union writing the checks know?
Yes, if the affidavit procedure doesn't work. They'll need to know about the affidavit too if it does work.
So they can make back and future checks payable to you.
Great. Glad I could help. If you do not need additional information, I would be grateful if you could leave me a positive rating for my time assisting you. I cannot receive credit for my work without your positive rating and that is the sole means of compensation for JustAnswer experts.
Absolutely. You were clear and very helpful. I know what I can do next. Have a great day!
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).