You should contact a probate attorney in the county where she resided or passed as there may be a small estate proceeding, and counsel may allow you to pay on credit cards. If she was in a nursing home for more time than Medicare covered, then the state welfare agency may have a claim to some or all assets, so you unfortunately need an attorney to walk you through the process.
You might consider contacting the legal aid society in Chattanooga about providing or finding an attorney to handle probating your mothers estate.
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You might ask the probate court to order the assets of the estate assigned to you. The problem is going to be proving ownership of items that have no title. I think you are going to need the help of a lawyer on this one.
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Consult a lawyer, and ask him to advise you and to consider the possibility of either a small estate affidavit or a probate of a will [if you can find one] as a muniment of title. Ask the local bar association to inquire of its list of lawyers whether anyone has knowledge of a will or preparing a will for your mother. You may need to sue the 'friends' for the items or possibly having a lawyer write a letter will get results.
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You should contact a probate attorney in the county where she resided.
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