My mother is 87 years old with early stages Parkinsonism and lives in California. My stepdad is a few years younger and is in poor health, primarily with COPD and mobility issues. Neither of them drives. They currently live in an apartment but have plans to move to an Assisted Living community, perhaps in February 2020.
Mom has asked me to be the executrix of her estate. It will bypass probate, as there is no real estate, and her bank accounts and money market funds have designated beneficiaries. She has no valuables to distribute to her heirs. (Her private-hire caregivers stole her jewelry.) Her husband will get all their community property.
Mom consulted an attorney who said that her will could be handled without legal assistance. It's "just" a matter of contacting her insurance companies, the Social Security office, stopping her pension payments, closing her credit card accounts, filing her taxes, etc. I have a long list of companies to call and deal with when the time comes. Mom's husband feels he can handle none of this, and Mom agrees. My siblings, who live in Louisiana but have visited Mom this year, have helped Mom amass the information I need but won't help with the post-death work.
I live in Arkansas. To make the many phone calls, fax/email death certificates, handle the taxes, and such, will take me many hours. I called the attorney today to ask if I would have legal right to compensation for the work I will put in. Since her estate has zero value (other than the money accounts that have beneficiaries), he said no compensation would be awarded unless Mom states such compensation in writing. She has not done so. I am sure Stepdad would not offer. I think Mom would be upset if I asked her for payment for my time, though the attorney would charge $325 an hour if Stepdad had to hand it over to him. Of course, Stepdad-- not Mom--would be paying my bill, but I don't think she would see it that way.
I am actually asking if anyone has advice for how to handle out-of-state situations like this. I am afraid I am setting myself up for a nightmare. I don't even know how to get the document that allows me to contact all these companies to settle Mom's estate. I don't want to be legally responsible for handling all these duties and run the risk of messing up.