What do I do if my dad passed away about3 weeks ago andI’m the executor of his estate?

There is a Will. There is a home that is paid for; funeral expenses have been paid for. As far as I know there are 3 outstanding debts. One credit card , and 2 vehicle loans. The vehicle that the loans are on are driven by some one else. One of the drivers has no insurance or drivers license. What am I liable for?

Asked on March 20, 2011 under Estate Planning, Illinois


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If there are two vehicle loans and your father was the lender (not a lender as applicant to a sales finance company but that he is actually listed as the lienholder) and the people are not licensed to drive or have insurance, then consider filing an action for repossession of the vehicle.  Further, if these people are not paying on the loans to your father, consider immediate repossession. If the lender is actually a third party company but your father was the main borrower or a co-signer, your father's estate will need to most likely obtain insurance on the vehicles first, then contact the department of motor vehicles in Illinois and report those individuals as driving without a license. It may be a controversial move, but better to protect others on the road and your father's estate before anything happens. If the credit card is in your father's name, take a look at the assets of the estate and see if anything can be sold to satisfy that debt. If not, the credit card company may need to file a claim through probate for a judgment. One avenue is to obtain the death certificate and notarized or legal proof you are the executor and contact the credit card company. Explain your situation and you may first have to mail in the proof or fax the proof before further conversation could occur. Talk to the company about the best approach to pay this but understand that you as the executor will not be personally liable for the debts of the estate as you described herein.

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