If there is no will and my dad had no assets but has credit card debt, do I need a probate lawyer?

My dad died. He has a car that he still owes on and credit card debt. He did not own a home and he was living with family, so no assets. How can I resolve his debt?

Asked on April 17, 2017 under Estate Planning, Oklahoma


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Assuming that the car is not financed, then it is an asset of the estate. This means that upon selling it, you can pay off (or as least some of) his creidit card debt. To The extent that the debt exceeds the value of the car, then your father's creditors will just write off the remaining debt. In order to do this, you do not need to file a formal probate. Instead you can use a simplified probate process for small estates without having to jump through the hoops of regular probate. In fact, in the case of an estate of this small, OK also allows inheritors to skip probate altogether when the value of all the assets left behind is less than $20,000 by using an affidavit. Here is a link to a site that will explain further: http://www.okbar.org/public/Brochures/isProbateNeeded.aspx

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