protecting mom's home

by alex
(marshall, nc)

My brother died unexpectedly after mom transferredd title to her home to him. His estate is insolvent other than this home. He never lived there and paid nothing for it. How can we keep Mom's home from being sold to pay his medical bills and credit card bills? In North Carolina.

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Apr 24, 2015
i am the Trustee and need advice please.
by: Anonymous

I recommend that you set up an appointment with an estate planning attorney in your area to discuss your options, especially given that it's not clear from your question whether there is a mortgage on the home, who inherited the home and other salient facts. Armed with all of the facts, the attorney can advise you as to whether there is anything you can do to hold on to the home and resolve your parents' credit card debt too.

Both of my parents passed away and did not have life insurance. They do have a small home which is very dear to us due to our families ashes are scattered there. My mother has a debt but in order to pay it, credit card bill, I would have to sell my parents or the Family home. We have sold much of the furniture to pay the medical bills but I'm so worried that we will have to sell the home!! I'm not working and my sister is not working due to another family illness. I took care of my parents and need a Lil advice. Respectfully, Trustee

Apr 05, 2014
Medical bills
by: Anonymous

What are my rights if my husband has lived in Fla for the past 12 years. Am I responsible for his medical and credit card bills in Fla? Can they put a Lien on my house if his name is on deed? I have lived in Wi for last 12 yrs where the house Is located.

Reply from
It's possible that you may be responsible for your husband's medical bills despite the fact that the two of you have lived in different states for many years. This is because of something called "Doctrines of Necessaries," which in many states makes each spouse legally liable for the other's unpaid essentials such as medical care and treatment. Therefore, we recommend that you consult with a consumer law attorney in your area right away to find out if you are legally liable or not. The attorney can also answer your other questions.

One thing to note is that if your spouse left an estate behind (this is simply the assets that he owned at the time of his death) then as many of his debts as possible should be paid during the probate process or a less formal state-approved process that provides for the payment of a deceased's debt and the distribution of any assets that may remain. This process must be initiated by whomever your spouse named as his executor if he had a will or by someone who is named by the probate-court as the administrator of his estate. When you talk with a consumer law attorney discuss this issue with him/her as well. It's possible that the attorney will refer you to an estate planning or probate law attorney.

Apr 23, 2013
protecting mom's home

Your brother's creditors (credit card companies and medical providers) are legally entitled to be paid out of his estate, which you explain is simply the home he owned at the time of his death (the home your mother used to own).

Did your brother die with a will? If he wrote a will, then he probably designated an executor for his estate. This person is legally responsible for filing the will with the probate court in your brother's area, notifying your brother's creditors of his death and paying the creditors that file legally-valid claims with the probate court. This will require that the house be sold given that your brother died without any of other assets, unless the executor refinances the house or borrows against it in order to raise the money necessary to pay the debts.

If your brother died without a will, then someone -- maybe you -- should contact the probate court and ask to be designated administrator of his estate. An administrator has the same legal obligations and powers as an executor.

One other option if the home is so important to you that you do not want to lose it. You could pay all of your brother's debts on behalf of his estate, working through his estate's executor or administrator. However, I want you to be clear that you are in no way legally obligated to pay the debts with your own money. Also, if the house ends up being sold and the proceeds are not enough to pay all of the debt your brother's estate owes, you are not legally obligated to pay the shortfall. Your brother's creditors will have to write off the amount they do not get paid. However, you ARE personally obligated to pay the difference IF any of the debts your brother owed were joint debts (you and your brother opened the accounts together) or if you guaranteed payment on his credit card accounts or his medical debts).

If you have any questions or want legal advice about how best to proceed, go here to talk with an estate law attorney for free, Ask Estate Lawyers Now.

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