What assets are considered to be a part of the estate?

My mom recently passed away. I received a letter from a credit card issuer stating they want to locate the individual who will be paying the outstanding bills of the descendant out of the estate’s assets. Are we, her children, responsible for paying the outstanding debt? Can I just send a death certificate to the credit card companies and they write off the debt? I’ve read where the estate is responsible to pay off debts, but what exactly is included in an estate? My mom’s house was owned jointly with my sister and my sister will continue to live in the home. Are life insurance policies considered part of an estate?

Asked on December 3, 2011 under Estate Planning, Colorado

Answers:

Sharon Siegel / Siegel & Siegel, P.C.

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Joint assets or life insurance with a designated beneficairy are not part of the probste estate.   This is what a creditor would refer to.  I would suggest that you have your lawyer write to the credit card company for the estate.  They will always write off estate debt when there is no probate estate or it is really small.  It is not cost effective for them to fight every debt.


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