If there are no assets in my son’s estate, am I required to hire an attorney for probate?

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If there are no assets in my son’s estate, am I required to hire an attorney for probate?

My son passed away without a Will but there are no assets, just debts. Do I need to go through the expense of hiring an attorney to file probate? He was divorced with 1 child with whom there has not been contact since the child was born 20 years ago. The house he had is in foreclosure process.

Asked on February 13, 2012 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  I might be concerned about the foreclosure if your son had any other assets - 401K plans, retirement benefits. life insurance policies.  But if it is as you claim that the estate is insolvent then in foreclosure the bank could only obtain a deficiency judgement agains the estate.  For your own information you do not have to hire an attorney to probate an estate.  It is just so cumbersome for some estates that it is prudent.  Just make sure that you check with your own attorney that you as his beneficiaries would not be liable on anything.  Good luck.    


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