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

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

I am the executor and sole beneficiary of my girlfriend’s Will, which has been probated. The car is in her name. There is an outstanding debt against the estate held by a credit union. Can I change the title of the car (and ownership) to my name while the debt is outstanding or can the credit union claim the car is part of the estate?

Asked on August 15, 2013 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  This must be a very difficult time.  The assets of the estate are any assets held solely by your girlfriend at the time of her death, or as a joint owner without rights of survivorship (like a joint account).  It sounds like the car is an asset of the estate and should be valued for probate purposes.  You should not transfer the vehicle in to your name because that would be an abuse of your power and could be seen as trying to avoid payment to creditors.  If you wish to purchase the vehicle from the estate I would get an independent appraisal of the value and then pay the estate the funds.  Then you can pay the creditor off.  Get some legal advice here from an attorney in your area.  Good luck.


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