If my mother passed away without a Will and she owed lots on her mortgage, are my brothers and I financially responsible in any way?

Recently, I received a letter from a debt collection agency claiming that we were the automatic heirs to the property, and that we are responsible for the mortgage plus lawyers fees for the bank. The letter claims that we can object to the validity of this claim, but must do so within 30 days after receiving the letter. Should I object, hire a lawyer or ignore this letter?

Asked on July 18, 2012 under Estate Planning, Indiana


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You should speak with a a lawyer as soon as you can.  You are heirs at law meaning that you inherit under the intestacy statutes in your state from your Mother's estate. But you do not automatically inherit.  If no estate is probated then the house never transfers to you and your siblings and the bank can not go after you.  The bank expects you to probate her estate which may be what is best, selling the house, etc.  Get help.  Good luck.

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