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My Mother passed away on October 31, 2020. I have no POA and I am not listed as a beneficiary. Once I have the Death Certificate and go to the bank to request access to her funds, so that I could cover the cost of her funeral/cremation. Would I then be liable for her Medical expenses?

I'm sorry for your loss. Even if you had had POA, that wouldn't help now as it is only for when the person is alive. It cancels upon death. Her 'estate' would be whatever assets she had. It sounds like since everything else is gone, she just had the one bank account that you know of? Even a simple estate is never really simple or easy especially from so far away. If you are not listed on the account, the bank won't give you access to the funds. If there was no will, my guess would be that probate court would have to sort out the estate and determine who the heirs would be. Are you the only heir? Is there anyone local to make burial arrangements? You may need to do some research on CA law or consult a CA lawyer to help you navigate the process. Usually it is a time consuming process when probate courts are involved. Unfortunately, I don't see how you will be able to access her funds quickly in order to pay for burial/cremation or funeral. Best of luck to you. I am in Florida handling my father's estate as Trustee/Executrix and I can't distribute the inheritance for one full year. Every state is different.
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Reply to NavyVet90
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Did she designate you as the payable-on-death beneficiary for her bank account? If so, the bank WILL give you whatever is in the account as soon as you provide the death certificate.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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Gyorgi, her estate means whatever funds she has in the bank, if nothing else. You are going to have to follow the rules of her state to be appointed the person who has access to her money.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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You won't be able to access her money. She had no will. Her estate will have to go thru the courts system which will by SC law determine who gets any money and how much. This could take a long time. You are not responsible for any expenses or debts.
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Reply to sjplegacy
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Gyorgyi Nov 19, 2020
She passed in Los Angeles her hometown. I am the only child there is no one else. She had an apartment and the landlord deemed it abandoned and threw her entire life into the dumpster. So all that is left is her savings account.
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As much as possible the Estate would be responsible for paying any debts.
Simple example...if the Estate had $1000 left (after the funeral) and she owed $500 to a credit card and $200 to a doctor the Estate would pay those and there would be $300 left for the heirs. I would wait a while before distributing money to heirs in case any other bills came in. But you are not responsible for any unpaid bills unless you signed stating you were responsible. (Keep this in mind whenever you take someone to an emergency room or walk in clinic when they hand you the stack of papers and ask you to fill them out. When it comes to the "Responsible Party" do not sign YOUR name.)

I think if you are not listed as a person on the account a death certificate may not help. It would be the Executor of the Estate that most likely would have that right. If you are the Executor then there should not be a problem If there is no Executor then one would be assigned in Probate Court
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Gyorgyi Nov 19, 2020
There is no estate, there are no siblings there is no home, she lived in an apartment and all her possessions were discarded by her landlord into the trash.
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I don't think the bank will help you if all you have is the death certificate. You will need to go to the probate court in your town with that. They will give you the necessary legal paperwork as her next of kin to get access to her bank accounts. You would not be liable for her medical expenses, your mom's estate would be. Your responsibility would be to pay those expenses from her funds, not yours. Pay for the cremation and funeral services first. Then whatever money is left can start going towards the other expenses. If the money runs out and there's still unpaid bills, don't let them intimidate you about it being your responsibility to pay them. It is not your responsibility.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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Gyorgyi Nov 19, 2020
You stated that my moms estate would be responsible. What exactly does that mean? She has no possessions left, she lived in an apartment and the landlord discarded all her personal possessions into the trash.
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Unless you signed as " responsible party" you are not liable. Your mother's estate would be liable, not you personally.
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