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  1. I wanted to stop by and let you all know that because of the advise you have given me, I've been able to secure an attorney and get the probate started. You all have been so kind in helping me navigate how to establish probate for my sisters estate, and answering so many questions that I had. BIG HUGS & THANKS to ALL of you for taking the time to respond to all my questions and helping my family. I'll be back from time to time during the process and let you know how it is progressing.
  2. Thanks Harrylime. I called her bank and sent her death certificate to them. They have frozen the account so nothing can be removed from it.
  3. Boy have I got some news! I received my sisters death certificate Monday afternoon. I called the Hospice that was taking care of her and they gave me a contact number of her caregiver. I spoke with this woman, and after the initial surprise of her finding out there were siblings, she was extremely nice and very helpful. She gave me an abundance of information about the home my sister had in Arizona, property located at the residence, and an estimate of the estate worth. She told me that a 2nd cousin who lives in Pheonix had my sister cremated and has her remains, house keys, and debit card of which she used to pay for the cremation. Also that the cousin(s) were already counting the dollars that they think they stand to inherit, so I need to get moving on this ASAP! She also told me that my sister was not close to any of her cousins and didn't leave a will because she didn't want them having anything. Which just leaves me to wonder why she wouldn't leave one for her sisters, myself included and brother to make sure that didn't happen. My sister had pre-arrangements and had purchased 2 plots in Chicago, one for her mother and the other for herself. She said she went by the house about a month ago and it is still locked up but may be headed toward foreclosure soon. I called the lawyer I contacted last week and left a message to let her know I've received the information I needed and that we can start getting this ball rolling. I will be blowing her phone up all day until I actually speak with her and get answers to these questions: 1. If home is in foreclosure or will be soon, will the probate halt those proceedings? 2. Can I contact her bank and stop all activity on the account? (If the cousin has her card she can spend at will). 3. If any funds have been used from the account can I have it returned, or legal recourse be taken to return it? 4. Can I get her remains and have her buried next to her mother as she had wished and pre-arranged? Hopefully I will hear from her before anyone posts here, but just in case, I value your opinions. You all have been quite helpful up to this point. Can't thank you enough! I will post again after I speak with her to let you know what she says.
  4. Been a few days since I've posted. As of today I'm not much further into this situation than I was before, but I have sent off for her death certificate and hope to have something by midweek. I was able to contact an attorney in Arizona who is willing to discuss the situation further once I have her death certificate. After speaking with attorneys who had the same silmilar questions, I spoke with the company who originally contacted me and let them know I needed more information as to how they were able to get the information they have, who gave them notice or hired them...etc. Of course, as I figured, he didn't give me any other information. I guess they figure it's better to secure themselves a chance at profiting from this estate by not giving me any information. I think not so much! it's all quite disturbing. When I have any new information, I'll stop back by and comment. I've really appreciated all of the comments and help you all have provided so far. Thanks everyone!
  5. Didn't get a call back today from the lawyers office. I called them back and the person I was to speak with had already left for the day. The person I spoke with confirmed that this person got the message and replied that she'd call back today... A bit off putting but we'll see how it goes when she calls back. Had a lot more promising conversation with the second attorney's office. Hoping to have some guidance pursuing the matter tomorrow.
  6. From what I'm seeing, it was her mothers home that she inherited. I'm assuming since she was on hospice, she wanted to sell it before she passed away. My sisters signature in on the paperwork. Have a phone consultation tomorrow with a lawyer in Arizona. I've made a list of all the great advise you all had given ans feel much more confident holding this phone call. I will post later on in the day and let you know what happened.
  7. I went back to the recorders office in Illinois, looked up the property and it was sold 4/29/15. Because she sold the property, would that then make her primary residence in Arizona where she passed?
  8. Pg1067: I did ask him. All he said was that they obtain information from various sources. No particular person. Couldn't or wouldn't give me any other info than she had passed (circumstances, place, date). Sent my siblings and I each a packet of information to fill out and send back to him agreeing to use their services. Just for my own piece of mind I would love to know how they got this information because I've played hell trying to find out information since Friday afternoon. On one of the searches I did I found information on an address in Illinois and I remember it saying "Trust". I'm going back through my history to try and find which search it was. Harrylime: Thank you for the link. I didn't see anything for her but did find something in my mothers name.
  9. Finally got some answers this morning. She was on hospice care when she passed in Arizona. I'm currently compiling all the information and application that Arizona requires for a copy of her death certificate. I'm still not sure if she had pre-arrangements, but I guess I won't know that until I've established my relationship to her to legally in order to find out. Pg1067: I've done multiple searches, free and paid, there is no mention of spouse or children. Not to mention, last I saw her she was 45, hadn't had children and was single. As to "who or whom" initiated this company to contact me.... I have no idea. According to their website, they acquire information through multiple sources, so I'm assuming they see her estate as something that they would like to help out with and profit from. They are Kemp & Associates. I have not totally committed to not using their services, I just think that exploring other options first would be a logical thing to do. The question I have now is...If her death was in Arizona, her tax information for the property in Arizona lists an address in Illinois which leads me to believe there are assets in Illinois also...which state do I establish an attorney in? Hats off to anyone who practices law because just this matter alone boggles my mind!
  10. Finally got some answers this morning. She was on hospice care when she passed in Arizona. I'm currently compiling all the information and application that Arizona requires for a copy of her death certificate. I'm still not sure if she had pre-arrangements, but I guess I won't know that until I've established my relationship to her to legally in order to find out. Pg1067
  11. Such a frustrating day! Haven't heard back from the Marshall in Maricopa. Keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow. Same goes for the office of vital statistics in Springfield. Struck out in Will & Cook counties..... I got in touch with vital statistics in Arizona. All I can say is, is it that hard to say yes or no? I know they have a system for going about getting a death certificate, and I don't mind spending the money or time to do it, but what I do mind is that I have to do the procedure in order to find out "IF" a death certificate has been issued. And it can take up to 2 weeks to get a reply. I don't see where it is such a terrible thing to tell me whether or not they see one on file. They don't have to give me any particulars..... "Sigh"... Just feeling defeated. I'll get over it, and I'll do what has to be done according to procedure. Guess I just had my hopes up a bit to high. So, what I do have is all the other information everyone has directed me to, and I'm so grateful for that. There aren't any opened probate cases in either state, so I guess that's a good thing. Just a couple more question before I pack it in for the night... Do I have to have a death certificate in order to start discussions with a lawyer? If I don't find a death certificate in either state, what should I do? Who should I contact for help? Goodnight all and thank you for all your help. I'll check back in the morning.
  12. Her tax info address is in Illinois. Called the ME in Will County & Cook county, neither have record of an issued death certificate. I'm getting ready to call Springfield vital statistics office. Only they can see if there has been a death certificate anywhere in the state. My brother is currently dealing with Maricopa county..... Just waiting to hear back from him.
  13. Ok... First off, THANK YOU all of you for the information and direction. I was able to find the information I needed at the Assessors office and Recorders office. So that is done. I still have had no luck finding her. Going to be calling the medical examiners office in Maricopa county, Az. and Will county, Il. I noticed on the document that this home was listed as non-primary residence since 2014, which leads me to think she may have been back in the Chicago area. Also, I'm going to be searching for a probate/estate lawyer and see what can be done. The information I got from the Arizona statues was also valuable. Answered some important questions there, so I feel more comfortable pursuing this issue along with my other siblings, and establishing a lawyer ourselves to handle this matter. I just need to find her whereabouts first. I'll post later on today and let you all know if I've been able to make any progress in the search for her. I appreciate the genealogy company's work, and did verify they are legit with an A+ rating with the BBB. If not for them, we wouldn't have known about her passing. That in itself is incredibly sad. Now I'm just trying to deal with the emotions of the situation. It just adds more questions to the ones I've already had for years that I'll never have answers too.
  14. Explorer13: You're absolutely right with both questions and possible solution. but as I have previously stated, there is nothing...so far. Adjusterjack: I'm going to call the medical examiner Monday. Checked the probate... There isn't one, and as for the deed and mortgage documents, nothing came up either. I see her information on Zillow and it says she's the owner of the home at that address and that it's worth $586,901. I wrote down the parcel #, and any other information on that particular property that may be useful. This is so weird it's aggravating. It shouldn't be this difficult to find a family member unless they are in witness protection. I find her name, address, multiple phone numbers but I can't find her. I'll check the new information you suggested when I get home from work. Need to clear my mind. Thank you for your help
  15. Thank you so much! I will check out what you've recommended. I am her direct descendant along with my brother and other sister. We all have the same father, just different mother. She was the only child of my fathers 1st marriage. I have already spoken with my siblings and we are all in agreement to pursue this together with our own legal representative instead of using this company. That was another question I was going to ask... According to the person who contacted me, he said he had found through genealogy a couple distant cousins on her mothers side. I was wondering if the direct descendants superseded all others? I would think.. 1. Spouse 2. Children (if any) 3. Mother/Father 4. Sister/brother before aunts, uncles, cousins etc. As I stated earlier, she was not married and didn't have children. Not to sound ungrateful or smug, but I don't see where a cousin thrice removed (if that's the case) would have any claim over a direct descendant. What if they are just some crazy crack head? Sorry for the expression, but it is a valid thought. Getting the ball rolling on the probate is, I presume, "time sensitive" but my first line of business is to find her and make sure she is taken care of. I don't know if she had pre-arrangements or not, or if there was anybody to see them carried out. Being that she didn't have the foresight to have a will, I'm doubting she may have made arrangements. This is way outside her character... So I am completely baffled. My biggest fear is that she has not been "claimed" and no arrangements have been made. Do you have any good ideas as to how I go about finding her? I have checked for obits/notices in all the papers in her area of Az. and Chicago and found nothing. I just finished going through every single Funeral home obituary list within a 100 mile radius of Cave Creek for the past 6 months and there is nothing. Next stop, Chicago area funeral homes. I will start my search of what you have suggested tomorrow when I get home from work. I probably won't be back here except to check for any responses until late tomorrow night or Monday, but I will defiantly let you know what I find. Thank you!
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