What assets can be taken regarding the debts of a deceased spouse?

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What assets can be taken regarding the debts of a deceased spouse?

My husband and I have no checking or savings accounts, no stocks, bonds, or trusts, no car, and no real estate. We only have what we can fit in our 1 bedroom apartment, including very little furniture (which is on loan from family) and our clothing and incidentals, his electric wheelchair, and a cheap guitar and drums set, neither of which have any resale value. Our only income is his SSI (he was born disabled and he used to get SSD as a disabled adult child, as well as Medicare but the SSA lied to us and said he could keep his benefits and I could work with no loss of benefits to him.) He is 41; I am 31. If he dies, will the state or his creditors (especially defaulted student loans prior to marriage) take our apartment contents?

Asked on September 1, 2012 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry that you are worrying about this.  Even the state and federal governments cannot come into your home and carry out your property without "due process of law."  That means they would have to open an Estate (which will cost them money as they do not employ lawyers for this purpose), follow the Estate procedures, and then collect.  They won't do it.

Your personal property is probably exempt from creditors claims in an Estate (it certainly would be exempt in Florida), but it is definitely too little for any creditor to bother with.


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