Can you stop a claim on a deceased persons estate? 14 Answers as of March 28, 2016

My mother recently passed on. Her medical bills total over 300k. We currently live in the house, on the land that she owned. We do not want to move. Is there a way to protect her assets from liquidation so we can keep our home?

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Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
No, her debts are paid first, if there's anything left over after the debts, then you'll inherit it.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 3/28/2016
S. Joseph Schramm | Joseph Schramm
If her creditors wish to pursue their claims they might petition the court to have one of them appointed personal representative for you mother's estate, then proceed to liquidate her assets to pay her outstanding medical bills. If they opt to do this, there will probably not be too much you can do to prevent it. Sometimes they decide not to pursue the outstanding medical bills and to write off the amount as a loss. It ultimately will be up to them.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 3/25/2016
Horizons Law Group, LLC
Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
You most likely will need to do a probate if you have a financial plan to save the home. This means you should first explore whether you can refinance the home to pay off the mortgage balance that your Mother owed, if any, or to settle on the medical debts (up to the value of the home) as they will expect to be paid at least some portion if she has equity in the home (through a probate anyway). Ownership of the home cannot be transferred without a probate, unless your Mother had a Trust or listed you on the title or as transferable on death. You may not want to start a probate if you do not have your own financial ability to take your own mortgage to settle her estate. It can be complicated and too difficult to explain all of the issues in a short response.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 3/24/2016
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
In Illinois, in order to transfer assets of a deceased person to hears or legatees a probate estate must be opened if the value exceeds $100,000. In this case you have real estate which also requires a probate case. If the property automatically transfers on death, like joint tenancy property or by means of a transfer on death deed, then no probate would be required. You should meet with an attorney to determine if a probate is required to transfer assets. Creditors of a deceased person must file a claim in the estate within 6 months of publication of the opening of the estate in order to maintain a valid claim. Known creditors of a deceased person must receive actual notice of the opening of the estate and then have a similar period within which to file a claim. Once a claim is filed it can be contested by the estate. If the claim is found valid, then the creditor must be paid before any asset can be distributed to the heirs and legatees. If no probate is opened by the family, heirs and legatees, a creditor can open a probate estate in order to assert its claim.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 3/23/2016
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
In Nevada, to answer that question I would need more information, including the value of the land and how it is deeded.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 3/23/2016
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    An estate has a legal obligation to pay every debt owed by the decedent. If there is not enough liquid cash to cover all the claims, then the executor/personal representative must sell some or all of the other assets to raise the money needed. That includes real property and the buildings on it. The fact that it was your mother's property and that you currently live there does not give you any claim or title to it. However, you should check to see if some other entity, such as health insurance or Medicaid/Medicare, will pay some or all of your mother's medical bills. If your mother's final illness was caused by someone, such as in a car or workplace accident, will the other person's insurance pay the bills? Will the health providers and/or health facilities reduce the amount of the bills for any reason? If the estate is stuck with the medical bills and other final expenses, does state law give you any claim to the property for any reason, such as you paying all the bills with your own money for several years in exchange for a future interest in the property? If there are no other options, you would inherit the property if the bills didn't exist, and you really want to continue to live in the house, you may have to purchase the house yourself at a fair market price and that payment would go to cover the medical bills.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 3/23/2016
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Sorry, the bill has to be paid before you get the house.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/23/2016
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    If you are not on title, you have a big problem. In order to have title passed to you, you have to file for probate, but that also requires notifying all potential creditors. Since your mother is dead, her estate can not claim a homestead exemption. If there is a mortgage on the house then that is superior to a claim by an unsecured creditor such as the hospital and if you can convince the lender to accept you on the loan in place of your mother or with her, perhaps you can save the house as the medical providers may not want to put a lien on the house and wait for years until the lien is paid off. They might be willing to write the whole debt off. You need to see a local probate attorney familiar with this type of problem. It is well worth paying a few hundred dollars to get sound advice on what can be done.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/23/2016
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
    In Maryland, sometimes, because there are creditor and claim rules to help protect the estate from creditors and claims. The answer to your question(s) is fact specific so what is applicable to your specific scenario depends on additional information.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 3/23/2016
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    I am assuming there is a probate estate open. Creditors, including medical providers, need to file a claim against the estate. They must do this within 6 months from the first publication of notice that a personal representative has been appointed. The estate must pay claims in the order of preference. Claims are paid until assets are used up. It is conceivable that creditors might be able to enforce a judgment against the property. You should retains the assistance of a probate attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 3/23/2016
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    You should speak with a probate attorney. The medical creditor is a high priority to be paid. The probate attorney can advise you on the needed course of action. Without knowing much more it is impossible to answer your questions. This is opinion is solely based upon the facts presented in the inquiry. Additional facts may be important and may change the analysis. If you are uncertain, seek legal counsel. We are not your attorneys. This answer is being offered to assist you in determining if you need to retain legal counsel to assist you, not to resolve your issue through an email inquiry.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 3/23/2016
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    I would certainly suggest that you should confer with an attorney about your situation. Generally however, first aid will be liable for her medical expenses and it appears from your question that she was the owner of the house and land.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/23/2016
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    None that I know of. Each claim is handled separately, you need to review it to determine if it's valid, and disallow it if it's not valid (assuming you're the appointed personal representative of the estate). But if the claims are valid, they have to be paid to the extent of property in the estate. You can negotiate and compromise claims; you may be able to borrow against the home to pay the claims. But then, if you've started probate, don't you have a lawyer helping you with that? If you have an insolvent estate, you should seek counsel. The attorney fees will have priority over the claims. Be advised that if you don't open probate, the creditors can.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 3/23/2016
    The Krone Law Firm, LLC | Norman B. Krone
    Nothing...Title remains as it was.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 3/23/2016
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