What to do if my father just passed away and mom has to file bankruptcy?

My dad had an old car he never finished fixing up that is paid off. She has 2 other cars that aren’t paid off. My dad said when he was gone he would give the car to me. She was told she couldn’t just sign it over to me that I had to buy it for at least $500. Why do we have to pay $500 especially when it’s not even worth that? Can the title just be sign over to me? What’s the reasoning?

Asked on March 25, 2014 under Bankruptcy Law, Kansas


Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

When someone is in the middle of a bankruptcy, they can not give anything away, because anything of value needs to be sold to help pay off the creditors.  So even though your father may have said he was leaving you the car, if he did not have a will, his assets will pass according to your state's laws of intestate succession.  It sounds like that is what happened here, and your mother inherited his car.  The bankruptcy trustee is not going to allow her to give it away for nothing.  Also, generally in a bankruptcy, a person can only keep one car.  Your mother will probably need to chose one of her two cars to keep.  

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