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(which it has been, for about 3-4 weeks now). My estate lawyer says the courts are "busy" and "behind", which I get with right after the holidays, but here we are in early Feb. ... It's straight forward ... my mother passed away in early Dec., '16. I am the ONLY beneficiary on her will but she did NOT put me on the deed to her house. I've already spend about $5,000 on her house (first half year real estate taxes, $300/month HOA fees). I know I'll get some of this money back once the house is sold (and that's not a problem ... my real estate lady has at least three seriously interested buyers) ... but nothing can be done until I get this LOT. This is in NY, btw, if it makes a difference. The other factor is my older brother (my only sibling), who has lived in a group home for the last 20 or so years. He is mentally disabled (born that way), and my estate lawyer says a court-appointed lawyer has to go to the group home and make sure everything is alright with my brother's care before I can get the LOT. The home takes excellent care of my brother. He and his house mates are clean, the home itself is clean, they get doctor and dentist check ups regularly, eat healthy meals, do lots of activities ... so that's not an issue but it's holding things up ... just wondering what everyone's thoughts are on this. Appreciate any input and have a blessed day !

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You could ask your attorney to contact the Court Appointed Lawyer, and explain your circumstances. If made aware of the need to expedite the review of the estate file, the court appointed lawyer should be willing to check on your brother promptly, and determine whether his interests are protected.

Ask if there is anything that can be provided to help the person with their review.

One simple step that can eliminate weeks of waiting is to hand deliver everything that needs to go to the Court, the Court Appointed Lawyer, or anyone else. By placing documents and data directly into the hands of the person who needs to act, you show them that the matter is important to you, and you eliminate days of mail delivery and processing time that add up when your matter is piled onto all the other papers already on the person's desk.

(Real Estate brokers practice this method all the time. If a person can't sign electronically, they go in person to help them with what needs to be done.)
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Nina, be thankful that your Mom didn't put your name on the Deed before she had passed.... otherwise when you sell the house, for income tax bases you would need to go all the way back to when your Mom had bought the house.  That could create a large capital gains tax depending on the price of the house when your Mom bought it compared to what it is worth today.

Being that you will inherit the house [as per a Will, there was a Will right?], the bases for the house will be what the house is worth on the day you receive it. You might need to have it professionally appraised to get the true value of the house.

My heartfelt sympathy for the passing of your Mom just a couple of months ago.  My Dad passed in September, and I was told it could take a year before the Probate case is closed.   The Probate Court needs to wait a certain number of months to make sure all the debts are paid.
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How it ran for me was probate atty online filed to PC my moms will. A PC staff attorney (not judge) reviewed documents filed on line (like death certificate, will & codicils) to determine if valid & if so creates a PC case # and docket. Took about 2 months. Then a in PC hearing date is set maybe another month out.

At hearing, Judge will open court and attys go up and get their case # time stamped. There could be a crowd as its not just death but guardianships, & whatever else is under PC laws for your state. Case file goes to a staff atty & they motion over your atty or give them some sort of hi sign. Case gets called you go in front of judge, could be small talk (was for me), judge approves you as the named independent or dependent executor as per will/codicil, you are then appointed and Letters Testamentary issued. You do an oath and move to another area to await getting your copies of your LTs. You want to get as many LT as you might need that day. Btw everybody wants an original death certificate and LT to do any financial transfers.... so get enough. Take cash for the LTs as if it's a check, it likely has to clear before you get them....

Selling the house.... Well I'm thinking it's not going to be as simple as you think. The house is an asset of her estate and it's value along with any other assets all need to be entered as a document for probate. "Assets of the Estate" and it is a formal document filed usually online by your probate atty and will need to be signed off on by PC judge. House Value could be last assessor value or if that is way way off you get property appraised. Personally I would encourage you to get it appraised by a registered & licensed appraiser, if any sale could be called into ? by the state if your disabled brother is to benefit from the estate.

To me, will filing, LT issued & Assets of the Estate document are kinda phase one. Phase two is Claims Against the Estate. Your probate atty once case file & docket done and your appointed, should do a NOC - Notice to Creditors. Where & how many times dependent on your state laws. Your atty responsible for this. Creditors have to file within a period of time as per your states laws. Letters may need to be sent to creditors. As others have said, no distribution till that is totally over.
Now all those property costs - that 5k property taxes,HOA, insurance, repairs.... - I'd suggest you start a tally with documentation on every penny as those are your executor costs along with any $ paid by you to atty, to court, etc. You can file your own executor claim against the estate if you need to. Ask your probate atty.

Also pls pls please review moms homeowners insurance policy. More than likely it is now invalid since the homeowner needs to be alive. You will need a vacant dwelling policy & ASAP as I'd bet HOA agreement requires insurance. VDP are costly and need an independent insurance agent to write it usually. It's basically just a structual fire policy. If you are going to have folks though the place (Realtor listing) or workers or others with access you will need some sort of specific rider above the basic VDP. The VDP for my moms house was 3 Xs her old homeowners and I had to shop to find one. Read it carefully, it may be if work or repairs are being done, you may need to be there the entire time workers present. Also ask your atty how best to have a VDP written as to payee if a claim (horrors!!) is paid.... Like its to you in your name as independent executor rather than to "Estate of"

Probate can be left open for a while. Try to find out if your state has a time frame that all needs to be finalized by. Good luck & stay organized!
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For my mothers estate it took a full two months from filing to getting the Letters of Testimentary. Everything that was needed to be filed, signed and notified had been done. It was just a solid two months on nothing occurring but waiting. It was frustrating.
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We filed for fiduciary in Niagara county NY. The court did notify all possible heirs and waited for them to sign that they agreed who the fiduciary should be. Your hang up may be the brother's attorney. We waited about two weeks, but the siblings responded quickly and the estate was less than 60K.
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The waiting period in NY is 7 months before you can distribute assets.
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