Began bankruptcy procedures one month before my father died

by Kim

A month before my dad died my husband and I filed for bankruptcy. We certainly didn't know he would die at that point. There was no will. Due to receiving a $10,000 life insurance policy ( unexpected), our bankruptcy procedure is being put on hold. He also owned a small home. Besides some medical bills, he owed about $60,000 to a nursing home. Because I am my dad' s soul survivor, am I now responsible for his house and paying his debts from that? There was no will. I don't want the house. The house needs tons of work. Plus he was a hoarder. I mean a serious hoarder with six foot high piles of junk. It had also been condemned by the health department. As he had filed for Medicaid all of his pension and social security had stopped. Catch 22 because no taxes could be paid. For all I know the house could be in a sheriff' s sale. Why is my bankruptcy hearing being put on hold now for something that has nothing to do with me? As I said, there is no will, I certainly don' t even have a dime to get a lawyer involved. I've been left with a big mess that I didn't want anything to do with in the first place. I' m trying to get my own life back together. There is much more to this but they're pretty much the same issues. Besides the incredible anxiety in my personal life, now this, I' m also on permanent disability. Why am I being thrown to the wolves in a case that I didn't ask for? I never signed for responsibility in any of these matters. I made sure I wouldn't be held accountable knowing I myself am broke. HELP!

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Apr 29, 2013
Began bankruptcy procedures one month before my father died

I cannot say for sure why your bankruptcy has been put on hold, but I assume it is because your financial situation has changed. However, the status of your bankruptcy is something you ought to discuss with your bankruptcy attorney. I am not an attorney nor do I know anything about the details of your bankruptcy.

If you filed without an attorney, I recommend you contact the clerk for the bankruptcy court where you filed to find out why your bankruptcy has been put on hold.

Since your father died without a will, you need to go to the probate court in your area and ask to be named administrator of his estate. Once that happens you can sell the house and use the proceeds to pay off as many of your father's debts as possible. Of course, if there is a lien on your father's house for unpaid property taxes, then the taxing authority will be entitled to his home and will sell it for the back taxes. As a result, you may not need to go to the probate court at all.

If there is no lien and you sell the house as your father's administrator, if the house does not sell for enough to pay everything your father owes and assuming that there are no other assets in his estate (his estate is simply all of the assets he owned at the time of his death.)that you could sell to pay his obligations, then your father's creditors will not get all of the money he owed them at the time of his death. You will not be obligated to pay any of the unpaid debts however, unless you co-signed for any of the debts or unless any of them were joint obligations between you and him.

I recommend that you call or visit the probate court in your area to talk with a court clerk. Explain your situation and ask exactly what you should do. The clerk won't provide you with legal advice, but he or she will point you in the right direction and help you avoid wasting time doing things you don't need to do and ensure that you do what you should.

I recognize that you have a lot on your plate, but you will get through it. Plus, once you talk with the right people, you are very likely to learn that your situation is not as bad as it appears to you now. Good luck!

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