I am sorry to hear of your family's loss.
If a person receives government subsidies, and the estate is not insolvent, the state can actually pursue "estate recovery" from the estate-basically seeking reimbursement for expenses paid on behalf of the decedent.
So the first step would be to determine the value of any assets to determine if the estate is insolvent. If it is insolvent there is no need to probate the estate- someone with a financial interest will likely probate it so that assets can be liquidated so they can recover their money (for example, government subsidies).
If there are in fact assets that exceed debt, then an interested party may petition the probate surrogate court in the county where the decedent last resided, as they have jurisdiction.
If there is propery located outside that state, "ancillary probate" needs to be opened in that state to dispose of that property.
If one assumes the role of personal representative it is best to hire an attorney since it is a fiduciary role and the fiduciary duties apply, exposing the personal representative to liability in the eent of any errors/negligence.
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