My Mother (99) is administrator of my deceased Actor/Father's Estate (since 1984). The Estate bank account (consisting of small, periodic residuals) was recently closed (Nov., '12) due to inactivity, and slightly negative balance, due to bank charges (unbeknownst to my sister and me), and that bank will not reopen it because my mom is now in a nursing home. (I have POA for my mom, but the bank won't honor it.) I tried to open an estate account at another bank, where my mom has her personal account, as a depository for the continuing, periodic, small residual checks, but was told that the letters of administration have expired, (and do so every 5 years) and that my mom would have to come in anyway. DO THE LETTERS EXPIRE? & CAN I SIGN FOR MOM AS POA TO OPEN ACCOUNT?
Letters of Administration do expire. There should be an expiration date on it. You can get a new one from the Surrogates Court that issued it but the administrator can not delegate her duties by giving you a power of attorney because she is acting for a third party as administrator. You should hire an attorney to have a new Administrator of the estate appointed (you) due to the incapacity of the current Administrator.
I agree with Attorney Chertock. What is the reason why your father's estate has been kept open for all this time? There is generally no reason for an estate to stay open for 35 years. Knowing the answer to that question might help suggest your next course of action.
You are not going to be able to sign for your mother regarding her duties as administrator.
Estate administration is the process of finalizing a deceased person's estate. It involves gathering assets, paying debts and distributing remaining assets.
A durable power of attorney gives the person you name a legal right to act for you, even if you become incapacitated, until you either die or revoke the right.