How can we find out if Mom had assets when she died?

6105 asked...

Mother remarried in 1986. In 2006 she passed away. My current step-father says my mother did not have any money or assets when she died. How do I find out what, if anything, she might have had? My step-father claims there was a bank account (which my sister had been included.) He says he was advised to remove all but one dollar from the account. My sister asked where her dollar was and he did not respond. How should we pursue this, especially after all these years when neither one of them can remember where this account was stored????

Expert Answer

I doubt if you should pursue trying to determine what assets your mother had at her death. Even if you could remember the name of the bank where her account was, I think it is unlikely that the bank would be willing to give you her account records, at least not without some type of legal order requiring them to do so. I think it is not worth your or your sister's money to hire a lawyer to go to court to seek such an order. Further, four years is a long time time wait before trying to investigate this. If you did go to court, proceedings might be barred by the applicable statute of limitations. That time limit would be set by the law of the state where your mother died, and the type of proceeding you'd filed.

If there were a serious possibility that your mother had a large amount of money or other assets, you might consider hiring a private detective to see if he or she could determine what happened to that money/assets. But from what you've told me, it seems quite unlikely that your mother had a large amount of money or other assets. Also, even a good private detective might not be able to learn what happened to assets four years ago.