My brother is a longtime alcoholic and nutcase, and when he figured out he could live on my mother's large social security benefits (widow of wealthy business owner), he sold her house, and moved her to a mystery location (using his address as hers, and keeping her actual new address off the internet radar). I was so exhausted from years of family drama, I just let go. I had too many issues in my own life, and had been her very honest POA for years, so I did my part.
After three years, I got a call from a creditor about her, and that's how I heard of her death. My brother had racked up lots of debt in her name, and apparently dropped her Medigap policy and then put her in a nursing home. Upon hearing of her death (the creditor was horrified that I did not know, and found out from him), I contacted a cousin, who verified it, but said "he wouldn't allow anyone to tell you." Shame on them; they know I always took very good care of her, took nothing in return, and also that my brother had never worked in 30 years (living off money he demanded from her), and that he was aggressive toward her. Still, they honored his horrid wishes over mine. I presume because he inherited everything, and let them have stuff, so they had a motive. Anyway, I don't care about her "estate" as I have a home, and I never wanted her money or fancy "stuff."
But, he had no funeral, no obituary, and she was apparently cremated, but not interred. So, I want to know how to assure that probate occurred and that her debts are under control, or he is being held responsible, as I doubt he reported her death to any authorities either. I've heard that funeral homes (cremation only, who knows where) don't always report it either. Does the County tell the Social Security Administration? I can't imagine how he is surviving without her monthly check, as he had tapped out her savings completely, so maybe he hid her death so he could still get checks.
Please help if you know anything about this kind of thing. I have printed an application for a death certificate from the County that I believe she died in, but am not sure that will tell me much about probate and death reporting issues. I am 63 now, and had a significant stroke two years ago, so I had to spend down my IRA and now am on Social Security. So I can't afford a lawyer, and am unable to return to work yet.