I am the only child my mom had. She passed away July 2012 (at the young age of 57), and it isn't known if she had a will or power of attorney, or life insurance. Prior to passing away, my mom lived with me for over a year until she sustained a spinal cord injury. She was placed into a nursing home in South Pittsburgh, TN, she lived there for several months until she was admitted into the hospital in Chattanooga, TN..where she later passed away. I have made attempts to get her personal belongings that 2 of her friends have but will not allow me to get them or have them. There are certain items that my mom gave to me & her 2 grandchildren. Also items that belonged to me that I gave her as gifts, & items that belonged to my deceased grandparents. What are my rights to her belongings?
You should contact a probate attorney in the county where she resided or passed as there may be a small estate proceeding, and counsel may allow you to pay on credit cards. If she was in a nursing home for more time than Medicare covered, then the state welfare agency may have a claim to some or all assets, so you unfortunately need an attorney to walk you through the process.
Consult a lawyer, and ask him to advise you and to consider the possibility of either a small estate affidavit or a probate of a will [if you can find one] as a muniment of title. Ask the local bar association to inquire of its list of lawyers whether anyone has knowledge of a will or preparing a will for your mother. You may need to sue the 'friends' for the items or possibly having a lawyer write a letter will get results.