I (was) DPOA & understand its void. I live in GA & can’t afford a lawyer. How can I find out what I need to do?

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I’m going to suggest something different from others suggestions....... do not do a thing other than get several copies of her death certificate (FH can likely order then for you initially). States allow for time (months or years) for probate to get open. You do not have to do something next week or next month. Your still grieving.

Having a valid will and opening probate with or w/out an atty and getting Letters Testamentary to act as Executor if there’s assets to be safeguarded and distribution to be done makes sense.
But it sounds like your moms home was very negative equity for the RM, so to me if that is the situation then spending any $ towards probate or her home is a total waste of $ as there’s no benefit to you or your sisters as there’s not going to be any assets to comprise an Estate for heirs.

If she’s viewed as a GA resident at her death then dealing with FL home takes it into “foreign will” territory as there’s likely filing needed for FL probate as well as GA. Even more co$t$.

Personally I’d wait to see what corrrespondence your mom or you get from the RM. If RM has not been notified of her death, you need to send them one of the death certificates and how to contact you. It could very well be that if your mom moved out of the FL RM house and moved to GA and several weeks or months have passed, the RM may have already started on dealing with acquiring the house as her moving out placed her out of compliance with mortgage terms. Usually RM will start foreclosure. If her death is new information to the RM, what they’ll likely do is ask you and your sisters if you intend to buy the property (@ 95% of value within like 90 days) and if not then ask you to sign off paperwork as her heirs for a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure so RM lenders can take over the property. Whichever the situation, the lender is going to want to get this done quickly so they can legally sell property and that can be to your benefit as you make them provide the paperwork and do the filing.

If it sells for for less than the RM balance, if it’s a HUD federally backed RM (most are), the federal govt will make up any difference owed to the lender. So don’t fret about that aspect.

Also there will likely be debts surfacing. House will have utilities, taxes, insurance bills, etc. Each gets a brief note as to her death and attach a death certificate. Their not your debts. If any attach onto the property that’s for the RM to deal with. Not your problem & don’t let the RM try to buffalo you into assuming responsibility or telling you that probate needs to be opened.
Helpful Answer (10)

Go to the library or a bookstore and get the book The Executor's Guide, Settling a Loved One's Estate or Trust by Mary Randolph. This is part of the excellent publications by NOLO on all sorts of legal issues. This should be a blueprint for most all your questions.
Helpful Answer (8)

This is a link to a pdf handbook written by the Probate Court Judges and the
Fiduciary Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia -

But what you have to do first is this:

"Validation of Will
The first responsibility of an executor (the person chosen in the will to oversee its terms) is to make the state of Georgia aware of your will. She must present it to the probate court, generally in the county where the decedent* lived, so the court can determine that it is authentic and valid. Georgia accepts wills made in other states as long as they conform to Georgia law."

*decedent = person who has died

So step one, Google "probate court in [name of county where your mother resided, no matter how briefly]" and take it from there.

I've always found that courts are kindly and helpful towards ordinary members of the public who find themselves faced with a legal issue, so have no fear - if you're not sure what to do, just ask.

By the way, whenever you're searching for things online, always look *very* carefully at the organisation behind any website. Most official sites will have something like .gov or (in your case) .ga in the web address. Don't get caught out by for-profit firms looking to snare new customers.
Helpful Answer (7)

Most estate attorneys provide a 30-60 minute free consultation. Might be something to consider? You don’t have to retain a lawyer but you can certainly have a free consultation. My husband was given a lot of information and checklists from the estate attorney at the initial consultation.
Helpful Answer (5)

Folks, based on OP posts, THERE ARE NO ASSETS.

Imo as Executor 3X, opening probate matters ONLY IF there are assets for an Estate to distribute; or Testamentary Trusts to be done; Or your working within probate to deal with MERP.

OP posted her mom died in GA with $30 in her bank account & house in another state - FL - that’s with negative equity in the Reverse Mortgage.

Unless there’s magical life insurance policy for way more than RM loan balance that has mom’s estate as beneficiary, for NinaOrlando moms situation there’s no $$, no assets, no reason to pay the costs or spend the time to open or deal with probate in not 1 but 2 states.

RM lender can & will do paperwork needed to get FL house legally. The usual is for HECM RMs is if nothing happens within 6 months of being out of compliance with RM terms or owners death, RM lender does a foreclosure. 6 mo clock could already be ticking away as her mom moved from FL to GA and if her mom did not pay property taxes and insurance, the RM is aware of this and has house on the noncompliance list to time into the foreclosure process in FL. If mail hasn’t be properly forwarded since her mom’s move from FL to GA, all the notices, etc. have been done and the foreclosure is just a matter of time. If foreclosure started, notices published then you cannot enter property.
Personally I’d let it happen and walk from doing anything to stop the foreclosure. If her mom should end up getting $ back later on.... like mom gets her original old $100 deposit from a FL utility on the now foreclosed house..... the utility will turn it over to the state Treasury and eventually state will publish an unclaimed funds list in newspapers and NinaOrlando can contact the state to get the unclaimed $. My state - Louisiana- did this a few years post Katrina as there was a ton of unclaimed $$$ as houses gone, no successful forwarding; Treasury did it at malls all over the state, ours was at Lakeside Mall in Metry and the lines were out the door. All you needed was a death certificate and your birth certificate to show the deceased was your parent and your current drivers license to get unclaimed funds check issued in your name. No probate court docket # needed.

I’m all for probate when it’s needed but if there’s no $, no assets but only just debt, you just walk away.
Helpful Answer (5)

Is there money in your mothers estate - did she have cash and/or investments, a house or other assets of value?

If yes, an attorney would likely wait until the estate is settled to bill for their services. Payment for the attorney would come off the top of the estate - not settled on you alone from any share of the estate you’ll inherit.

If your mother had assets and/or if there are more beneficiaries other than yourself- hiring a attorney would be wise. I know I would have been lost in probate H3LL if it weren’t for the attorney I hired.

However - if it is a smaller estate there are “small estate” probate procedures that are much simpler to deal with. And - perhaps a do-it-yourself executor book will be all you’ll need.

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (4)

Yes, my mom was a new resident of GA. She became very ill from a uti the first day she lived here. She was immediately hospitalized and was septic, requiring a ventilator. She only lived 9 days after that.
Mom owned a home in FL which was under a reverse mortgage. The amount owed at her death was very high. She also had a will, naming me & my two sisters equally, but I doubt there will be much at all left over once the bank sells the home. She had a total of $30 in her bank account!
Thank you for all of the info! It certainly gives me a place to start, as I’m very overwhelmed & grieving at the same time.
Helpful Answer (4)
Nina: What was your mother doing with the payout that the RM was providing?
Could your mom have relinquished the Florida home to the RM before moving? You need a statement from the RM company so you know what the tab is. Check to see that mom’s taxes have been paid, etc. A realtor can give you the comps for your mom’s home. If she was upside down on the RM and there is no equity left then you would have a trip to clear her belongings which she may have already done before moving to Georgia?
The house may have appreciated since the RM was created so do check with a realtor on current value before just signing a release of some type.
Once you know where you are on the house your other decisions might be easier to make.
Many courthouses will help you with the probate steps for a small to no estate if the realtor or RM Co. require letters of testament in order to work with you.
Let us know what you find out.
Helpful Answer (4)
What is the RM?i got it reverse mortgage...……….
I'm sorry to hear of your mom passing. Please take some time to process and to grieve. And it may take a while. I was in your position two years ago and used the internet and similar resources that others have mentioned. I live in Calif and mom in Alabama and it can be done from a distance. And I had no help from sibling. Hired people to move her things and made one visit for cremation/service and to handle a few other things. Just remind yourself "I will get through this". There will be bad days. There will be not so bad days. You will get through it and it will take time. Took me a year to get through most of it. Hang in there. (((Hugs)))
Helpful Answer (3)

1st, you should be able to get a pro bono attorney thru the help of the Probate Court.

2nd, is your State Probate. If so, again the Probate Court will help direct you. You may need to record the Will before you can do anything.

3rd, your family members are not going to like you now and possibly for the rest of your life.

4th, if Mom was the last of your parents get the locks changed so nobody who may have a key is able to go behind your back and take what the want.

5th, the Court CAN appoint another person in your place. It all depends on the Judge and his/her reasoning is #1.

6th, even though Mom named you as Executor, you still need to be appointed.

7th, you will need to have an inventory done BEFORE anything is done.

8th, IF you live in Common Property State "children cannot" be disinherited. Meaning, if they were in the will and then Mom "disinherited" them, they can take to the Court to get what supposedly is theirs.

9th, YOUR main job is following the wishes of your Mother. YOU cannot change anything EXCEPT the Court should someone take to Court because they "think" they're due something.

10th, depending a) State Law about Wills b) whether the "person" is actually considered an heir.
JUST because you "think" you're an heir, YOU may not even if you're a child. If Common Property and you were never named in the Will, you're NOT an heir.

I'm the Executress for our Mother. I know my siblings are going to be really, really pissed (sorry, best adjective and be 'clean'). My siblings used Mom's Alzheimer's to get beneficiaries changed on everything that is worth $$$ i.e. investments, house. NOW my step-sister and her minions are trying to get as much $$ now because my Step-father doesn't have anything (my home State is Community Property). Mom could change her Will in 3-4 ways and my 1 sibling "can't" find the Will. Mom gave her 1 brother an ORIGINAL copy, so guess what; they're going to be EXTREMELY pissed!

Stand your ground because Mom TRUSTED YOU to follow her wishes. Again, call your State Probate Court to get direction. THEY CANNOT GIVE YOU LEGAL ADVISE, BUT HELP DIRECT YOU.

I hope this helped you a bit. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (3)
GraceLPC Oct 2018
My friend got removed as MPOA, Trustee, & Executor.. never given notice. Terms Changed and added if she sued about legitimacy, she gets nothing! This happened 6 weeks prior to her Mom's death. She was not notified!

My husband was Executor, assigned, because his name was on everything. There was no will. He knew his dad wanted all siblings to inherit fairly. So we used Opt #1 described in my response about "the stuff". There was a lot of tension. Bad feelings because of family living nearby who didn't show up to help clean, sort, repair the house.

Still, the one place I butted I was to set up this system for deciding the property. We were all young. Newlyweds and two teens.
This is why I pushed all to agree lists were fair before anyone knew what they were getting... except daughter who was promised the China. Were all Valuables Groups equivalent to China Group?
When things get divided by 5, each share seems smaller than expected. But getting consensus in advance made a huge difference! Within an hour there were 3 way trades for items of most personal value or need. It solved a lot of problems!
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