How best to deal with estate assetsif there is no Will?

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How best to deal with estate assetsif there is no Will?

Mother passed away recently –  with no Will, no assets, just credit card debt. We would like to take over her car loan. Her auto lender will transfer the car loan to our name if I am named executor of her estate. She has no property or assets. Just credit card bills. Her largest credit card company (owes $11, 500) tells me if they find that she has an estate, they will go after the balance. Can I be named executor after a death? If I can, will the partially paid off car be considered an asset that the credit card company can go after? Is this a good move for us or should we just let the auto lender repossess the car? $15,000 is owed on it but we are willing to take over the loan. We cannot pay off her credit card debt.

Asked on January 31, 2011 under Estate Planning, Maine

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  What you would apply to the courts to be named is sometimes known as an Administrator or Personal Representative of an Intestate Estate.  "Intestate" means that someone died without a Will.  Yes, you would be named such after the person has passed away.  You do not have to pay your Mother's credit card bills.  The estate is responsible for the debts not you personally.  Now, the creditors can go after any of the assets of the estate.  If the car is considered an asset - and I am not sure that it is at this point - then they are entitled to it.  More than likely the car is worth less than the loan, correct?  And it is a "secured" debt rather than unsecured like the credit card.  I would speak with an attorney in your area who can look at the whole picture and advise you.  Good luck.


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