I hear your frustration and deep anguish... you've been through an awful lot. Perhaps some of us can help you sort through the issues you've been raising, and maybe help alleviate some of your concerns.
However, one thing that isn't clear is whether your father was older and/or in poor health. I'm assuming he was, since you're here on a website for caregivers. Without knowing the circumstances surrounding his death, some of what I say may be a bit off-target, but may help get the discussion going so we can learn more about the relevant factors and be of more assistance to you.
The hour's delay in aid ... are you saying someone called for medical support and nobody arrived for an hour? The priority that was placed on sending an EMS team would depend on who placed the call, the number that was called (whether it was an emergency or a nonemergency phone number), what the caller said, and the availability of a suitable response team. I went through hospice for emergency help twice ... the first time, it took well over four hours even with my making repeated calls to hospice, and I eventually had to call 911 directly, myself, to get help even that soon. The second time, I called 911 myself when I hadn't gotten a response within an hour. I found out that hospice calls a nonemergency number, and it's not unusual for the response team to take several hours to get there. In your father's case, if the symptoms weren't clearly indicative of a heart attack, the dispatcher may not have given him a very high priority. Early symptoms can be very vague, and appear to be, e.g., just indigestion. And the comment that the symptoms were unusual for your father and that he felt he was improving may have led the dispatcher to feel that he wasn't in any imminent danger.
It sounds as if your father died at home, possibly even before the EMS arrived, and there was no doctor present. It is up to the State to decide who can legally pronounce a patient dead. In some states, police (or the sheriff) can make a determination of death, in some states paramedics and/or hospice nurses can ... in some, the patient isn't legally declared dead until actually examined by a doctor, which sometimes isn't until many hours later. And an ER doctor who declares the patient dead after the body has been transported to a hospital often is not the one who signs the death certificate -- the attending physician (e.g., your father's primary care physician) would be asked to do that and "determine" the cause of death and file the death certificate.
Bottom line, it's probably unlikely that anyone is going to be suspicious if the time of death on the certificate doesn't match well with statements from other parties in other places about the patient's status at any given point in time. In fact, it is not at all unusual for reports from different sources to contain conflicting information. I have a friend who just spent weeks trying to straighten out her father's death certificate ... someone, possibly at the hospital, put down the wrong date of death. She didn't notice it right away, the funeral home delayed requesting the correction, the hospital delayed signing the approval for the amendment, and after so much time, it took six weeks for the state to process the paperwork needed to approve the amendment. There wasn't any hanky-panky, it was just a typo, complicated by bureaucracy. I had problems with my loved one's death certificate because whoever was supposed to arrange for his doctor's signature apparently forgot, and four days later, the funeral home called me in a panic because the hospital where they'd picked up the body told them my loved one hadn't died there and their doctors weren't about to sign anything. Now, in our case, the doctor who (eventually) signed the certificate hadn't seen my loved one during the eight days prior to his death. He was on hospice, and died at home, and the time of death was supposed to be declared by a hospice RN. However, we had total chaos and confusion, because my loved one was in a study at the university and was supposed to have an autopsy as part of that study, and although I'd told hospice that when I first brought them in, they had never followed up to find out how to arrange for it. My loved one died on a Friday night after all the university study people had gone home for the weekend, and the RN spent the next couple of hours trying to track down who was supposed to transport his body and where, and what I was supposed to do to reclaim it when they were done. I don't think anyone actually made an official record of what she said during those phone calls, and I'd be surprised if she remembered a detail like the exact time afterward, especially since she was heading to another hospice patient's home when she left ours. I think what was eventually entered on the official death certificate was what I wrote on the form I filled out for the funeral home, which was based on what I thought I remembered hearing the RN say during one of her many phone calls.
"Determining" the cause of death can be based solely on medical history and symptoms and signs immediately preceding the death, not necessarily on any tests actually performed at the time, which is why the attending physician is typically the one who signs the death certificate.
Death certificates list the primary cause of death, and also have a space for factors that may have affected a patient's overall health but did not directly contribute to the immediate cause of death. Even if your father quit smoking a long time ago, his earlier habit could easily have been a contributing factor to cardiovascular disease, and it's therefore not surprising that it's mentioned on the certificate. In my loved one's case, the cause of death was end-stage Alzheimer's. Contributing factors included parkinsonism, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and cardiovascular incident. Obviously, he didn't die from GERD ... but I can see why it was listed, since it did make it harder to get adequate nutrition into him and since the meds for treating it interfered with other meds he needed to, e.g., help prevent strokes.
If an EMS team is called for a patient who goes into cardiac arrest, they will do CPR unless there's a DNR in place (and often even if there is a DNR, sigh.) CPR involves a great deal of physical force and is going to cause a lot of bruising -- it can often even break bones. So while I'm sure the picture of your father was very disturbing to you, it might not be disturbing to someone who is used to patients who have died under similar circumstances.
It sounds as if you think the cremation was arranged suspiciously quickly. Actually, a cremation must take place soon after death -- I believe within three days -- unless the family wants the body embalmed or is willing to pay for special storage conditions. Either of those can cost quite a bit of money. Embalming is usually only done if there is going to be some sort of memorial service at which the body will be "viewed". If "direct cremation" is chosen, the body can move directly from the place of death to the crematory, or it may stop at the funeral home just long enough to secure the death certificate, cremation permit, and cremation authorization form. The fact that the authorities -- including his primary care physician -- allowed direct cremation says that they saw nothing suspicious about your father's death.
While it's very admirable that your father wanted to donate his organs/tissues and that you supported his wishes ... there are severe limits as to the types of donations that are possible when the patient dies of cardiac arrest. The whole body could be donated to a medical school for use in teaching students, or for experiments involving various types of tissues or organs if there is a demand for them at the time and in the vicinity. When it comes to transplants, however, very few of his organs/tissues would have been healthy enough -- probably only some of his skin, and maybe the corneas of the eyes if they were in good shape.
OK, on to another subject. Apparently you've been told that even if the widow's actions with regard to the estate may not be in keeping with the most recent will, that would be a civil rather than a criminal matter. That means your only recourse would be to sue. And it sounds as if you have discussed this option with an attorney, although it's not clear what the attorney's area of practice is and whether he'd be well-qualified to advise you. What I'm getting from what you've said is that he doesn't think a lawsuit will be worth your while. Maybe he doesn't think you have a good enough case to justify the severe stress suing her will place you under. And really, Mary, lawsuits are extremely time-consuming and stressful even when the death of a loved one isn't involved. Maybe he's trying to tell you that your legal costs will be too high in comparison with what you might gain. Attorneys chew through money at a mind-boggling rate, and then there are all sorts of court costs as well. Maybe he feels your case is pretty weak, and you would have difficulty prevailing.
I would suggest that you consult another attorney or two, and that you look for attorneys who not only specialize in estate planning, probate, and trust law, but ones who focus on litigation. You want someone with exactly the right experience and expertise to help you evaluate your own, particular situation and whether pursuing legal action will be of any real benefit to you.
Now, maybe this woman is defrauding the Government by claiming benefits to which she has no real right and/or by under-reporting her income. And maybe you could cause trouble for her by reporting her to the appropriate authorities for either or both of those. The thing is, that if she was married to your father for quite some time, then his financial status would have affected her eligibility for benefits, and the two of them would typically have been better off filing jointly than separately. Ergo, your father may have been involved in some way, and any repercussions might affect his reputation and/or your inheritance. ($1,000 per week seems truly exorbitant for a manicurist -- salary.com says the average income is $19,381 per year, only a third of that. And if she lives in a smaller town, the average salary could be thousands less than that. If she owns her own business, then the business might collect $1,000 per week in revenues, but the actual income that she realizes would have to be adjusted for expenses.)
If it's determined that there has been some wrongdoing in this area, I wonder if it would affect the disposition of your father's estate. If, say, he got Medicaid benefits, they can come after his assets, including his home, whether or not he left them to you in his will. Since they were married, even if the house was in his name only, the Government might be able to come after the house if she received Medicaid benefits without actually being eligible -- that, I don't know -- and even if she was eligible, they can still put a lien on the house.
So before airing your suspicions, I'd talk with the attorneys about the evidence you have that she's been defrauding the Government, and what possible impact that might have on you and your hopes for an inheritance.