We rushed over only to find the entire block filled with fire trucks, police and an arson investigation team. Her dad got out okay because he was downstairs. Her mom was upstairs in the bedroom. It was very difficult for the firefighters to get to her, several were overcome by smoke, I could hear their O2 bottle alarms going off when they came out of the house, and one firefighter fell off the roof. Her mom died before they could reach her. The initial cause of the fire is a defective toaster which ignited the cupboards and then the whole kitchen (this house is about 90 years old and all wood). We have been holding up really well however her dad is very disoriented right now. He's going to live at our place for the time being so we can be sure that he's safe and taking his diabetes medication. Her mom *might* have a will but since the house is all but a total loss, we can't really be sure. The state fire marshall released the house to the insurance company (AARP) and they in turn have had it boarded up and padlocked. We're going over tomorrow to see what is salvageable--I was there this afternoon and it appears that her entire set of collectible glass figures from Dept 56 and some specially made porcelin appears to be fine since they were in sturdy china hutches in the dining room. We haven't found a will but did find several bank statements for her (seperately) and joint accounts. What I'd like to know, especially from those who have had to deal with this--both my fiancee and I are only children--is what to do next with regards to financial arrangements? A friend suggested we get a power of attorney from her dad and go to the banks where her mom has individual accounts, close them and move the funds into a new joint account with my fiancee and her dad. He said this would prevent some of her other relatives from trying to horn in on her mom's assets (it's been done before with her uncle). Is there anything else we should be looking to take care of on Saturday? Some bank offices are open but places like Social Security and DMV to get her dad a new DL are not. I'm not sure about their credit card situation, they do have AMEX and a Visa or two, I'll check more in to that tomorrow. Thank you all for listening, please post here or if you have something sensitive, you can email me.