For the last 2 years, I've cared for my ill mother; Recently she passed away at the age of 80. She told me about the original copy of her will, kept in her bureau drawer. We were told that I was named the executor and that I and my two sisters would share her estate equally. We live in New York; Her house is worth about $600k in today's Real Estate market. She had 2 bank accounts. One with a sum of about $ 50K was to be used for her burial expenses and I was named an owner on the account. I did as she asked and spent $20k on her funeral. The other bank account has a smaller amount of around $5k and was only in my mother's name. There are no disputes among me and my two sisters.
Do we need to go to a lawyer and pay for a lawyer and probate court? Couldn't we just read the will and carry out her wishes? We'd much rather do this and keep things simple.
2 Answers from Attorneys
Any assets solely in your mothers name must be transferred by a fiduciary appointed by the court. So too, creditors need to be paid.
What do you mean "we were told about the Will?" Did you look and find it, or not? How are you going to sell the house or collect the $5,000 account? Probate does not cost a lot and is fast. You may be able to do it yourself. Go to the Surrogate's Court and ask for the papers you need to file and then see if you can figure out how to fill them out yourself.
Please accept my condolences on the loss of your mom