That's always a tricky question. You could do an asset search, but it wouldn't turn up bank accounts. A look at prior tax returns can also be helpful (if they are available). Sometimes interest reported on the tax return will help identify an account. The best way to find out is to open the estate, then send letters of administration to the various institutions that she may have had accounts with, asking them to return an itemized listing of the accounts. The risk, though, is that she didn't have anything, in which case you will have gone through the probate process for nothing. It's a fishing expedition. You need to decide whether it's worth the risk.
Don't take anything written here as legal advice.I am happy to offer my thoughts free of charge, and I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about representing you. Please be aware, though, that at this point we have not established an attorney-client relationship. An attorney client relationship requires me to agree in writing to represent you. Unless that happens, you shouldn’t take anything I say to be legal advice or make any decisions based on it.
I would suggest you try to find her Will, as they may be a devise for you under the Will. Wills become part of the public record once they are filed, so you should check the County clerk where you mother died to see if a Will has been filed. You also may be able to find out the details of any lawsuit from the clerk of Courts and contact the Attorney who represented her.
My colleagues have provided you with sound advice. In a situation such as this, there are a lot of details missing. Was a probate petition filed? Was there a will? do you have access to your mother's records? These and many more questions need to be explored.
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As the other attorneys have stated, looking for bank or financial account statements or reviewing tax returns is a good place to start. If your mother had a Will, the Will may list accounts or locations to look for valuables (the money in my safety deposit box at xyz bank). You can contact a local attorney as many have resources that are able to uncover hidden assets.
Answer does not constitute legal advice. Please call (727) 471-0039 or contact me at email@example.com, if you would like to discuss your Florida legal matter further. This answer is provided for informational and/or educational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Adam is a Florida Attorney practicing in areas of Estate Planning, Elder Law, Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, and Business Law. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.
A private investigator may be able to find assets. They charge about $500, and the ability to find accounts falls off quickly after the person dies: sometimes it it compromised within 60 days.
This is off-the-cuff advice and does not establish a client-lawyer privilege. Nothing I say here can be used to suggest the avoidance of taxes/penalties/interest due. I am only licensed to practice in the state of Florida.