I understand there should be an Estate manager? How do we find or establish that person?
To begin with, she passed in her country of origin and there is no record of her death here in the USA. Do we need to notify someone in order to get a record? Do we need to translate/notarize the death certificate from her country of origin?
Her Estate basically consists of a house and bank accounts which my father is also named in but we're not sure in the case of the property. We don't even know what document proves their ownership! Probably a satisfactory mortgage payment letter we haven't found yet. Can we get some other doc from public records?
Sorry for the several questions, basic guidance much appreciated! Open to hiring a lawyer if necessary but first we'd like to have a basic understanding of the legal situation here.
Hire a probate lawyer. The estate will be settled after the court appoints an Administrator of the estate.
This answer DOES NOT establish an attorney-client relationship. This answer is based on the limited information provided and is not intended to be conclusive advice. There are likely other factors that might influence or change the advice after a more lengthy consultation.
The key questions are where her property is located and how that property was held. You mention a house and bank accounts and say that your father is named on those assets. If the bank accounts were jointly held or your father was a designated beneficiary, then those accounts pass to your father without doing any proceeding. As for the house, you have to look at the deed and find out if your mother was the sole owner of the house. If so, a proceeding will be necessary. If, on the other hand, your father (or anyone else) was a joint owner, then that property will pass to the surviving owner.
You should consult at your earliest convenience with a local attorney who is experienced in estate matters.
Good luck to you.
Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.
So sorry for your loss. You will receive a basic understanding of the process once you hire an experienced probate attorney to proceed.
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