Brother passed away without will.

by Barb

This is a little complicated. My brother and his wife purchased a camper trailer about six years ago through a loan with a bank. they moved to Maine registered the trailer there for a couple years and then moved to Florida. before he could re-register the trailer in Florida he passed away without a will. My sister n law didn't know what to do because the loan was only in my brothers name and she could not afford to make the payments or keep the camper in storage. she gave me the camper trailer and now the bank with the loan will not talk to us about it even to find out the balance of the account. My brothers estate was all debt no assets. except for this trailer trailer. I just found out the estimated retail price this this camper is under $5000.00 and the required probate in Florida would cost close to $2000. I have contacted the bank but they will not discuss anything with me so that I might be able to continue making payments to them. They supposedly hold the title. The widow could not find anything other than a registration from Maine to go on. It did not indicate that there was a "lessor" on it. This is the only thing that I have left of my brother and the trailer has a major sentimental value to me. Do you have any advice as to what I could do to keep this bank from prepossessing the Camper Trailer?

Comments for Brother passed away without will.

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Jun 26, 2012
Brother passed away without will.

I think that you will probably have to initiate the probate process in order to get the matter resolved although after you read my answer you may want to consult with a probate law attorney as well.

When you initiate the probate process, the court will appoint an administrator for his estate (everything your brother owned and owed when he died). As the official representative of your brother's estate, the administrator will be able to contact the bank to get the details on the loan. The administrator will be obligated to pay as many of your brother's debts as possible out of any assets he owned however. It's possible that working with the administrator, the bank may agree to let you keep the camper in exchange for either assuming your brother's loan or applying for a new loan (probably the latter). All past due loan payments, fees and interest will have to be paid possibly as a condition for getting the loan, or the bank may agree to add them to the total amount of the new loan. The bank is entitled to get its loan paid back and the camper serves as collateral for the loan so unless you and the administrator can work out a way to deal with the loan, the bank is legally entitled to repossess the camper trailer.

As for the probate process, the state where your brother resided is likely to have a streamlined process for small estates and so it may not cost $2,000. Speak with the probate court about this or with a probate law attorney.

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