If I received a payable on death benefits from my mom and that was her only asset, how do I pay her debt?

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If I received a payable on death benefits from my mom and that was her only asset, how do I pay her debt?

She died in UT where she had lived for only 3 months so they say she isn’t a resident. She had previously lived in WA but they tell to hire a lawyer to determine what state she was a resident of. The amount I received from her account will not cover all of her medical debt.

Asked on November 19, 2011 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Good question. If you received an interest payable upon the death of your mother and if the account was a joint tenancy account, then one half of the account would go to her creditors and the other half which was already given to you beforehand as a gift is yours to keep.

However, if you were able to receive the entire account only upon the passing of your mother where it was not a joint tenancy account, then the entirety goes to the creditors of her estate to pay them off.

If your mother has a Will, you need to probate it. Some courts have a process for small estates, less than $100,000 to expedite the process. If she had no Will, you have to file a petition to administer her estate.


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