Need advice about my mom’s estate

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Need advice about my mom’s estate

My dad died 6 years ago and my mom is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s. She is currently in a hospice program; I have been living in her home for 3 years taking care of her since I have retired from my job. I am single. This house is in her name and she also has several large bank accounts and receives 2 government checks every month. The utility and food bills are currently being paid from her income but we have not touched the other accounts. The Will names me as executor and divides everything evenly between my brother, my sister and I. My sister and brother are both married and own homes, however I do not, and would like to continue living in this house after my mom dies. I have moved all of my belongings here and have been living here for years. The money in the large bank accounts is probably several times what this house is worth and my sister and brother have no problem with me buying this house out of my share of the estate. I was wondering, though, what happens if my mom dies. Will I have to move out while the will goes through probate? Should I immediately have the utility bills transferred over to my name currently as these are automatically paid out of my mom’s checking account? I am power-of-attorney over my mom’s accounts but I understand this ends when my mom dies.

Asked on April 29, 2017 under Estate Planning, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You are correct about the POA ending when your mother dies. 
You will not have to move out if the person in charge of the estate prior to probate being finished (the executor if there is a will, the court-appointed administrator if not, or the personal representative--another term which can be used for either administrator or executor) doesn't want you to leave. If there is no executor appointed by any will, then the court will select an administrator, which will almost certainly by you or a sibling. If you have your siblings; agreement to let you take the house in exchange for them getting more money, it is very unlikely there will be any problems or that the personal representative, etc. will want you to move: it's actually better for the house, if you will be getting it anyway, for you to stay there and keep an eye on it. With the consent of the other heirs, there should be no problem with the transaction you descrive, so long as you all agree on the price.
It would be a good idea to switch the accounts, to avoid service disruption due to any difficulty in accessig her accounts after her death.


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