What are my options if my mom recently passed away and left a car on which she owes $6,000?

UPDATED: Jan 9, 2015

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What are my options if my mom recently passed away and left a car on which she owes $6,000?

It is the only thing she left behind. I am an only child and would like to pay off the car and then sell it but the title is in her name. I was told I have to go through probate and it could take up to a year. In the meantime I woudl have to keep up the payments and insurance and I just don’t have the money for that. Is it all a waste of my time? Should I have them reposess the car or should I go through the process? Also, she owed medical bills. Will I have to pay those with any profit from the car?

Asked on January 9, 2015 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts


Christine Socrates / Christine Sabio Socrates, Atty at Law

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you start the probate process to settle your mother debts and assets, then any proceeds that come into the estate can be used to pay her debts, including her medical bills.  If the car is worth more than the amount she owes on it plus the cost of probate plus the medical bills, then it would be worth opening up a probate estate.  If there is no probate Estate then the medical bill cannot be paid, you will not be held personally responsible for them.  

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