How do we determine the existence of an estate?

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How do we determine the existence of an estate?

My 41 y/o daughter passed away with medical
bills and some credit bills. She left a
retirement account of about 20,000 and an old
truck worth about 1000. I have contacted
accounts as I have become aware of them
providing a copy of the death certificate. A
collection agency is contacting me now. How do
I know what we are responsible for? We are
residents of Texas.

Asked on February 23, 2018 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You are not personally responsible for anything.  This was your daughter's account and, therefore, her debt.  You are not personally responsible for those debts even though she was your daughter.
However, if you were designated the executor of her estate (either by will or the probate court), then you should file a probate of her estate so that you can have the authority to access what funds are available in her accounts and to receive instructions from the probate court on which debts to pay first (if any) and how much to pay each creditor.  You are only responsible (as the executor) for doing what the probate court instructs you to do.


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