You need to reopen probate to distribute the funds. They are the property of your mother's estate and absent the consent of the court you have no authority to access them. If the funds are held by the state on "the big list," they won't even produce the check without a current fiduciary certificate.
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I willbe honest and state i do not the actual answer. I would suggest contacting the probate acourt where the estate was open and see if the staff had any ideas or shortcuts that might obviate reopening the estate. The original beneficiaries would be entitled to the funds pro rata I would think if you can recover them.
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Yes-You would have to reopen the estate to distribute the funds as suggested.
The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.