After death, how do we protect assets?

My mother and dad set up a revokable trust naming my sister and I co-trustees. My parents were “life tenants” but after my dad died, my mother became the life tenant. Now that she has died, the house which is a condo, goes back to the trust. Now, my mother had credit card debt in her name alone. I do not have money to repay them since I’ve been her caregiver for years. How do we protect the house/condo from credit card companies?

Asked on September 7, 2012 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

This is a Florida question, so the answer involves Florida's specific protections for homestead property.  It sounds like your parents' condo qualified as their homestead.  If the trust was created properly, the condo retained its constitutional homestead protections, and your mother's credit card companies cannot take the property to pay the cards.

The question is what happens now to the property.  You should consult a Florida attorney to review the trust.  The trust should say who receives title to the condo.  If title passes to an "heir" listed in the Florida statutes, it will pass by operation of the Florida constitution and statutes and outside your mother's estate.  The credit card companies will not be able to take the property.


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