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I am typing this through tears...My Mom is in Hospice and unfortunately is near the end. My brother is Mom's POA and I am the executor of her will. My brother and I get along very well and have worked together through all of whats happened thus far very well. However, I am nervous about my upcoming duties and have many questions. I understand that my brother's 'work' is done once Mom passes and I take over from there. The issue is that I live 900 miles from my Mom and brother (they live in IN) and I am wondering if I can select my brother as an agent or helper or even sign over the executor-ship to him so he/we can work together to finish Mom's business when the time comes. Does anyone know how this might be possible? Mom has very little to her name at this point- she has a joint checking account with my brother that has less than $40k in it. The three of us together sold her car, home and were able to get rid of/distribute items in her home before she moved into an assisted living facility in January. The only items she owns right now is a TV, dresser and bed. Mom has no investments and the only funds that she has is in the joint checking account that she has with my brother. Mom has some credit card bills that total under $1,000 and she has hospital bills. Do we need an attorney in IN to help us settle this or can we do this on our own? It seems like this should be very straight forward but I/we don't want to misstep. Thank you-

GardenArtist- Mom is still hanging in there under the care of Hospice. She is past the point of conversation but we are convinced she can hear us and feel our touch. Thanks for asking-
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Reply to Floralscent
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Even though your mom's situation sounds relatively simple, I would suggest that you consult with an attorney to discuss whatever public notifications of death would be advisable so that potential creditors don't come after you for payment after the estate has been settled.
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Reply to AlfredR
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Floralscent, you're quite welcome, and thank YOU for expressing your gratitude.

How is your mother today?
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Thank you all so much...not only for your kind words but for your great advice. I appreciate it very much.
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Reply to Floralscent
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I’m in agreement with the others that it looks like there’s not really going to be anything that needs probate to be opened. There’s no house, land or car still in her name, right? and it’s those types of assets that need a probate action / court order to transfer.

The bank account has brothers name & signature on the account so it’s probably going to become all his & he can pay the whatever’s to settle her debts from that existing joint account. Then after a bit, perhaps 8 mos - a year, he can divide what’s left between you two.

A will and what’s in the will only matters if there’s after death assets that need a probate action to move out of the. deceased name. Often wills are done decades before death happens and in the passing years assets get sold, transferred, spent, so that by the time they die the terms of the will doesn’t matter as the assets are gone. Your only executor IF probate actually gets opened with the will entered into probate and you appointed Executor via Letters Testamentary. Otherwise it’s just a anecdote on paper.
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Reply to igloo572
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I think your Moms estate is very cut and dry. (I see no mention of a trust) Since brothers name is on Moms account, don't think that needs probate. You will just need to pay her bills and that can come out of her bank acct. Then you and brother can split what is left over. Since you have always worked together than everything should be OK. Since he is closer to where the will is probated then you can turn the Executorship over to him.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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First, your brother will automatically get the money from the bank account that his name is on with your mom. Second, your mom does not sound healthy enough to make your brother the executor of her estate. Third, unless the will says that you can, you can't just hand being executor to him.
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Reply to cmagnum
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Flora, first, be with your mother and focus on her. I'm sorry you're facing such emotional challenges right now, but know that there are options. The issues you describe for her estate aren't complex enough to create a lot of problems for you. In fact it seems like Probate might not even be necessary.

I don't know whether or not you can assign him to help; it would depend on wording in the Will. But there are tasks that your brother can do that don't require any execution of documents.

From what you write, the one account is held jointly between your mother and your brother, and if titled properly (joint tenants with rights of survivorship), they'll pass directly to him. If you're on good terms, he can write checks for the Estate expenses. And assuming that relationship still holds, he actually can handle that financial aspect since he already has authority to.

If you have a funeral, the funeral home director will take care of getting certified Death Certificates for you. You can also get them on your own from the county clerk's office.

One would be provided to the bank; others would be provided to creditors, such as any outstanding charge accounts.

With your brother's cooperation, you can determine which bills are valid and he can pay them.

I don't see any need for any attorney, or even Probate proceedings given that the only real asset left is the checking account.

So, relax, and know that the situation can be handled w/o a lot of complications.

And I am so sorry to learn that your mother is so close to the end.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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If there is a trust and you are executor, if it’s a revocable trust I think your mom can change the trustee. It would require a lawyer obviously. If you are trustee, did she specify anyone to replace you? In my MILs trust, she was trustee, my husband became trustee when she died and then there is a successor/back to him if something should happen to him or he is unable to perform his duties. If you brother is your successor trustee, I would think you could pass it on to him if you are unable to act as trustee due how far away you are. He regardless, you should speak a trust attorney.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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