For purposes of Small Estate Affidavit you must use the current fair market value of the house, WITHOUT considering the reverse mortgage. Also, if her $10,000 is in the bank you should talk with the bank first. Some banks will not give you the money based on a small estate affidavit, they want some to be appointed Personal Representative by the court BEFORE they will let the money be withdrawn. If the $10,000 is stock, you won't be able to get it with a small estate affidavit. Indeed, they probably won't even talk to you. Give me a call, 503-650-9662, Diane.
Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662. Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate. Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.
I am sorry to hear about your mother's death. The problem is that once your mother died there may be no one living who has the legal authority to make decisions regarding her property. Initiating a small estate proceeding or a formal probate is intended to identify and authorize someone to deal with your mother's estate. Did she leave a will? Who survived her? What kinds of assets did she leave? What is it going to take to convince a bank or stock broker that it is safe to do business with someone regarding your mother's estate? You need to consult an attorney experienced in Oregon probate law and confidentially consider all of the questions you have to deal with.