Will I be liable if my deceased brother's estate is not enough to cover his debt? 1 Answers as of May 04, 2016

My brother died about three weeks ago. He had no will and the life insurance policy he left me was only enough to cover the cremation expenses,$1,200. Originally the policy was $10,000, but was not viable because it had not reached the 2 year mark and I was only given the money that he had paid into it. The VA paid for his burial space and ceremony. He has one significant outstanding debt from a hospital that the VA apparently refused to pay for. I don't have money for a lawyer. His funds in his account will be released to me in 75 days from date of death. I've sent this collection agency a copy of his death certificate. He had no assets and only has like $8,000 in his account. I stopped all the auto with drawls. If he does not have enough money in his account to pay for the debt, would I be held liable? I'm not an executor. He died suddenly. He has an older Ford Taurus that I'm holding onto just in case I have to sell it or give it to this collection place. I'm not sure what to do.

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Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
I'm not sure I understand why the fund in his account will be paid to you in 75 days? Are you a "payable on death" beneficiary in the account? The basic answer to your question is if you get any money or property from your brother's estate, you are liable to his creditors to that amount. If you pay one creditor, you may be liable to another who is not paid. Safest is to not take anything from your brother's estate, but tell each creditor about the Taurus and the bank account, and let them fight it out.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/4/2016
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