So, as you may recall, father in law passed away on July 11th, we were down there last week for the funeral, H stayed on till the other day, etc. So, we have certified copies of the will, death certificate and mortgage documents. Background: father in law helped us get into our home back in 1996 - he basically put the down payment in and secured the mortgage in his name and we have paid the mortgage all these years. We pay for everything in regards to the house. Despite my best arguments and pleas, H has never made a concerted effort to get the house into our name by way of taking a mortgage for the balance of the original mortgage. We have looked into it several times, but then H won't follow through. At one time, we were going to just put the mortgage into my name because H wouldn't qualify for a loan, but at the last minute, H's trust issues became a problem and the plan fell through. His father didn't hold onto the house as a means of controlling anyone - it's been H all along; he just couldn't get his s***t together. Then he started an upstairs addition and suddenly was ready to move forward with getting a mortgage. Well, because the construction was incomplete, the mortgage companies would not consider us because mortgage laws changed after the Wall St crud and no longer were mortgages given out for "incomplete construction of living space". So all he has left is to put up the sheetrock and we figured by Christmas we'd be able to get a mortgage and finally get this DONE. But then, father in law passed away and left this loose end. In father in law's will everything was left to his wife, even OUR home. Unfortunately, since our house was only in father in law's name, mother in law needs to submit papers to the probate court to have it changed into her name. She is a resident of FL, we live in, and the house is in, CT. So, we are filing the papers for her up here through probate court. Of course, we will have to send her the papers to sign and she will need to send them back, etc. It's going to be a period of time before all of this is settled. And I am not happy about the house being in mother in law's name - we have no affection for one another and, in fact, I wouldn't put it past her to find a way of keeping her name on there and adding H's but excluding mine. She's not fast or extremely clever, it may just be a suggestion, but I wouldn't put those thoughts past her, is all I am saying, and I try diligently to keep those kinds of ideas out of my head! Okay, so current: Yesterday I contacted the probate court clerk in town and she stated that we did not need a lawyer to submit the papers - just be sure we have everything necessary, download the forms from the state GOV site, etc. I did that, but then called a local lawyer for the heck of it just to be sure. The papalegal confirmed to me that we didn't need a lawyer, however, if anything became gummed up, the lawyer would be happy to assist at that point. I feel confident that I can do this, process the papers, etc., after all, I have been doing legal work for over 15 years and estate/representative stuff concerning my mom for over 3 years. H had to consult with his sister, which is reasonable, and she strongly urged him to at least have a consultation with the lawyer which is fine, it's their dad and mom and all that but it seems I must continuously remind H that this is MY home as well as his, not to mention the girls, and I NEED to be in the loop with anything concerning the house. He just gives me blank stares, it's so unnerving. I TOLD him that I will be attending ANY and ALL meetings with a lawyer that concerns the house - no ands, ifs, or buts, period. Again, the blank stare. Q#1: Has anyone ever gone through the probate court without an attorney? If so, did it all go well or did you end up needing an attorney after all? I ask this because we have already plunked out over $1000 relative to father in law's death (travel, hotel, etc) and H still has to contribute another $700 towards the funeral reception in FL (long story short: because the brother and sister don't think the mom should have to pay!!!)...and finally, we will likely plunk out another $1000 for the ashes ceremony and reception on LI (another $1000) in September, because H said he would. I mean, we're talking crazy amounts of money here ($2700), and the idea of paying someone another $500+ to do something I can do (effectively) just unhinges me. When I mentioned the problem I have with spending all this money, he just looked at me like I was evil - as if we should spend every last dime to 'honor' his father's death. We're way beyond 'honoring' his death, okay? Q#2: Since we are going through probate anyway to have the name of ownership on the house changed, is there anyway to have it changed directly to H and me with mother in law's approval - I mean, can she sign off on it and we just acquire a mortgage for the balance on the existing mortgage ($60,000)? The paralegal I spoke with seemed to allude to such a situation, so I figured I'd ask if anyone has every been in that situation. We have records that indicate we've been paying the mortgage since 1996, we pay the homeowners policy, make all the repairs, maintenance and upgrades, etc. The house is valued at roughly $285,000 and we would only take a mortgage out for $60,000, so I am imagining that his mom may have to quit claim on the equity of the home and property once we get a mortgage. Or, would be a situation wherein we assume the original mortgage through the normal applications? I am thinking of calling a mortgage broker today to get that question answered. Q#3: H is a little slow on the uptake at times, especially when he's trying to comprehend stuff like this. It's not that he's stupid, in fact, he's very intelligent, but just slow about stuff like this. It drives me NUTS because his mother is the same way. They just don't get every day little things like on line banking or calling an agency to find out information, they don't ask the right questions and then hang up annoyed with the other person for not giving them adequate information. Stuff like that - drives me crazy, how about asking the right questions to get the information you actually need? Duh. I tend to do a lot of research, make calls and ask a lot of questions - IOW. I am ON IT. I become so frustrated with him and his slowness and the blank look on his face (so reminiscent of GWB it frightens me at times, I cannot tell you!), that I sometimes rush in or complete the thought or sentence, etc. Other than crazy-gluing my mouth shut, how, HOW do I keep my mouth closed. Close my eyes and count to ten? Say the serenity prayer 8 million times over and over in my head? stick a wad of chewing gum in my mouth? WHAT?????? Okay, so lastly, the LI reception. When we were in FL, the consensus was that we were going to contact one of is old golfing buddies on LI and ask if we could hold a small reception at his house one Saturday in September after dispersing the ashes. H didn't say much at the time but then let it be known only to me that he had no intention of following through with that plan, and, get this, WE are the ones who are supposed to plan it. The reason a friend's house was suggested is because the FL reception cost over $3000 at the country club and we (the siblings collectively) wanted to cut on costs for the smaller reception. Of course, the FL reception had 60+ people and the LI reception list is now up to 40 people. Now, for some reason, my H feels that because his dad was so beloved by his golf friends at the LI country club that they will be willing to give his dad a reception for a cheap price. I doubt that. H also said that the place on LI didn't have catering. Well... I went to the LI country club site and they've been in business for 100 years, catering the entire time. I spoke with the catering manager and asked if we'd be able to bring in our own food, etc., and he said that he had heard H's father's name said a lot these past two weeks - that even though he didn't know father in law, apparently, there were still members there who remember him. The catering manager said that he will work with us for a small gathering and in regards to food he feels they would be able to provide something nice and affordable, within our budget. We don't have a budget - well, H was thinking maybe $800 total. I guess we will see because we have a meeting with the catering manager on LI tomorrow at 12:30. Fingers crossed!!! Okay, so that's it for now - thanks in advance for any information you may have to offer!