I am sorry for your loss. Did your mother have a will? If she did, then the Executor named therein will need to be appointed by a probate court to collect these funds. If not, the court will appoint an Administrator to take on this role.
Your next move should be to retain an attorney of your own. He or she will review the situation and determine how to best provide assistance. Good luck to you.
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Her investment accounts may have Transfer on Death beneficiary designations on them. In that case, then the financial institutions must be presented with a death certificate and identification in order to change the title to the accounts.
I'm uncertain about her entitlement to settlements. If that means that she was receiving structured settlement payments, then someone must contact the administrator of the annuity and follow their instructions, if there remain assets to be paid. If so, then there should be a beneficiary designation form on file.
But if she were just waiting on a check, then I would want to follow up with her bank to see what the status of the funds are and how they plan to handle the situation.
I'm sorry for your loss.
Do you know the consequences of your legal situation on your Financial & Estate Plan? Dennis Phillips is an attorney and financial planner based in South Florida; and he is the principal of 411 Financial, 411 LegalDox, and 411 FlaLaw which provide investment and insurance products and services nationwide, and legal products and services in Florida. Securities and investment advisory services are offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, Panora, Iowa, Brokers International Financial Services, LLC is not affiliated with 411 Financial, 411 LegalDox, or 411 FlaLaw. Disclaimer: The response above is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, would significantly alter the above response.
I agree with Attorney Pankowski, although I would see a probate lawyer as your FIRST step. If there is a Will, great. If not, you are still going to need to probate the estate, in order to get someone appointed who can pursue or at least handle the settlement proceeds.
I too am very sorry for your loss.
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The out-of-state lawyers have shared good general advice-- you need to sit with a lawyer and sort through all the facts. The moment Mom died, her propert became part of her Maryland "estate." Whether you or anyone else inherits money through the estate will be determined by her Will, or by the laws about how stuff passes when there is no Will (it is called "intestacy"). And whether bank accounts, insurance and other pots of money flow into the estate, or whether they get paid outside the estate, is determined by going to the bank and reading the documents. Now, to get all this done, the estate needs a "Personal Representative." That only happens when someone in the family files a petition with the Orphan's Court in the County where Mom died (and we are assuming she passed in Maryland, for the moment), and the court issues "Letters of Administration." A lawyer can help you set up this entire process, and advise on each step. And the lawyer's fee is established by statute, based on the value of estate assets being administered. Does that help?