How can I verify my deceased mom’s assets and proper distribution by the power of attorney?

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How can I verify my deceased mom’s assets and proper distribution by the power of attorney?

My mom died last month. Right after her death, her boyfriend became violent with me, kicked me out of my mom’s home without allowing me to take the things of hers she gave to me before she died, and, after running a background check, I found out my mom had $150,000 in investment money plus other assets, and I know she had life insurance, several storage units of personal things, and none of the bank accounts, items, nor insurance are joint assets with her boyfriend. I’ve been checking the probate schedule in the city

court system but have not found anything. Her boyfriend said he would send me the things my mom wanted me to have. He has not done so. Also, he said that he and my mom my deceased momdecided that I am no longer their family. That I know is ridiculous, but I am concerned he is stealing all her money, even prior to her death. I have 2 siblings that have not been able to reach him, nor have they received any calls, mail, or emails. I cannot afford an attorney and I live in another state. Do attorneys take these cases on

contingencies do you have or any other suggestions to find legal assistance. This guy is a police officer. I am positive after visiting regularly for weeks at a time that he has abused my mom physically, emotionally and financially for years. However, when I had the police come to her house to help me get away from his violence, I tried to get their help to investigate if he had been abusing her. They would not help me or my mom.

Asked on May 28, 2019 under Estate Planning, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

He has no right to anything of hers which 1) she did not will to him (in a properly signed and witnessed will) or 2) which are not co- or jointly titled/owned in his name. "Boyfriend" is not a legally recognized relationship and gives no legal rights. 
There will be no probate until family opens it--again, he has no legal rights here (unless there is a will leaving assets to him and making him the executor) and can't open probate. You or a sibling (assuming there is no will--you not mention one) need to apply to the probate court in the county in which your mother lived to be appointed the "personal representative" or "administrator" (either term may be used; this is the equivalent of being the executor) for her "estate" (everything she left behind). Once you have that legal authority, you will have the legal right to remove the boyfriend from your mother's home (assuming she, not he owned or leased it) and to distribute her assets to those who will inherit (you and your siblings, if there is no will). If he took any money or anything he should not, you could sue him for what he took, to get those things or their value back to the estate to be distributed to the heirs.
You do not need an attorney to do this, but one is strongly recommended: these (applying to be the personal representative; the probate process; removing a former boyfriend from a home if he won't go willingly) are all complex legal actions. Most probate attorneys work for a percentage of the estate (the total value) plus an initial upfront fee or retainer; you are encouraged to call several, to see if any will work for a budget you can afford. 
If determined to do this by yourself, take it one step at a time: contact the probate court to inquire into being appointed personal representative or administrator, then once that's done, contact country court about how to remove someone from a home, etc.


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