If assets are limited, he may be able to do a simplified process through the Court and do it himself. For the initial paperwork, you don't have to get an exact balance. Once he's appointed administrator, he'll have letters from the Court to get the information. He should at least talk to an attorney first and with all of the facts the attorney can tell him which direction to follow.
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Mr. Reynolds has provided an fine answer: Spend a couple hundred dollars to meet with an expert Probate attorney. The Application to be appointed as Administrator does not require that the applicant know the exact balances. There are two ways to administer a small estate. You can save yourself much time and aggravation by getting some professional help.
Mr. Huddleston is an Ohio-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, with offices in Columbus and Dayton, serving client families and private business owners throughout Ohio. He may be contacted directly by phone toll-free at 888.488.7878 or by email CLH@HUDDLAW.COM. Mr. Huddleston responds to Avvo questions as a public service to help educate and provide general guidance to questioners, but his responses are not legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship.
Sometimes all it takes is a little prodding of the banker. Explain the need fir an approximate balance since the value if the asset determines the type of filing you must do with the Court.
Or, try to obtain access to the info online. Did Mom set up online banking? Do you have account numbers? If not, look at Mom's recent income tax-related paperwork for1099s from the bank.