No. of Recommendations: 1
Condolences on your loss. Your going through and will continue to go through very difficult times. Don't make decisions without talking to the executor of your fathers' and mothers' wills, any advisors you may have - (don't forget local churches and your banks as potential advisors in addition to lawyers or accountants), your sister. Estates are not simple things and emotionally you and the rest of your family are not in an optimal position to make good decisions.
The transfer of assets is complicated and the size of the estates and state in which your parents resided will have an impact. My fathers' estate took more than one year to go through probate even though my mother was still living. A maiden aunt's estate was in probate for two years. The wills may direct how assets are to be handled - e.g. a trust fund, sale of assets, distribution of assets.
Some of the assets may not have to pass through probate - life insurance policies, annuities, IRA's may have been set up with defined beneficiaries. If you have a lawyer or financial/tax advisor to talk to - talk to them. Also, try checking a book on probate out of your local library. Even if your not the executor you'll understand the process better.
Don't be too concerned about the value of the estate since you will not have much control over the assets unless your the executor. Even then your control will be limited by the market. The cost-basis of equities transferred by the estate to you and your sister will be adjusted to the value at the date of death or 90 days from the date of death - depending on the method selected which was probably already selected.

Good luck.

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