You have to get Letters of Administration from the probate court. You need to open a probate estate in order to get one. Please consult a probate attorney to see if it is worthwhile to open a probate estate.
My colleague is quite right, you will probably need to qualify as personal representative (administrator) of your mother's estate. If the amount of the check is small and your mother left no Will you may be able to proceed without a full administration, under a special procedure in New Jersey. If the check is larger, it's likely worth your while to open an administration. You can do this yourself, your local surrogate's office will help you, but if the check is more than, say, $10,000, I would recommend that you strongly consider hiring an attorney to help you. Best of luck.
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You should contact the office of the Ocean County Surrogate. You will need letters of Administration, if
there was no will. Otherwise, please contact an experienced estate attorney.
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