Grieving Family Locked Out Of Late Mother's Apartment

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Grieving Family Locked Out Of Late Mother's Apartment

CREATED May 22, 2014
by Todd Walker

CENTERVILLE, Tenn - All a grieving Hickman County family wants is to have some closure and clear out their late mother's apartment.

Instead, they're caught in the middle of a legal and paperwork nightmare.

Sharon Sullivan died last week.

Before she died, Sullivan signed a notarized power of attorney over to her daughters, and wrote a letter to them she called her "Last Will."

Sullivan's daughter, Casie Hodges thought that was all she would need.

Hodges said when she went to collect her mother's belongings from her apartment, Sullivan's landlord said she couldn't let them inside.

"We thought, you know, momma's passed these are our things," Hodges said. "My sister was there. We're the only two heirs. It's ours."

Tim Takacs, an attorney specializing in elder law, said when the person who authorized the power of attorney dies, the power of attorney dies with them.

So now Hodges has to get an executor or administrator appointed through the court system.

Hodges said she doesn't have that kind of money.

"You have to have the paperwork filled out," Hodges said. "But I can't get into her apartment to get the information to fill this stuff out. It breaks my heart when we can just go in there and get this stuff. It's ours. Momma would be throwing a fit. It's like we can't even have peace and grieve. My mom wrote letters to my sister and I and we can't get to them. Right now that would mean so much to me."

Takacs said the landlord could go to court and as a judge to appoint an administrator to speed up the process.

Hodges said she's been told it could take at least 45 days.

Hodges hopes others can learn from her story and make sure family's documents are squared away well before they're needed.

Email: twalker@newschannel5.com