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John Elder
John Elder, Estate & Elder Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4631
Experience:  Over 14 years experience in Medicaid, Estates, Trust.
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I was the Administratrix to my mothers estate (in Mississippi)

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I was the Administratrix to my mother's estate (in Mississippi) that was not probated. There was no will. There were three heirs to the estate. The other two heirs served as administrators briefly.
I assumed the responsibility of Administratrix when our family home and a small amount of stock were the only things left of value in the estate. I was unsuccessful selling the home though it was on the market for more than five years. The home was in arrears for City and County taxes approaching $8,000.00. I exhausted estate funds to pay the taxes throughout the years (beginning in 2006). The other heirs were not participatory. Therefore, I allowed the City to take the house. I could not be an absentee owner.
The estate owes a balance of $800.00 for legal fees. What is my liability under the circumstances? I guess that I am technically no longer the Administratrix. The estate is defunct.
I have written to the attorney to ask for a reduction in the balance. He has not responded and I continue to be billed. I did not sign a contract with the attorney or deposit a retainer.
Welcome! Thank you for your question.

You are not personally liable for this estate debt so long as there where no estate assets to cover this debt. You should be very careful in your communication to not agree to be liable to pay any portion of the debt. Only estate assets are liable for payment of this debt. If they have all been expended and the estate closed then there is no personal liability to pay this remaining creditor. You need to notify the creditor that the estate has been closed and there are no assets. You may find they still bug you with letters but you can just ignore them as there is nothing they can do to you personally.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Do zero assets translate into a "closed" estate or is there a formal procedure ?

Closing an estate is a formal procedure of filling closing documents with the probate court and getting released as administratrix. Until you are released you are still obligated to perform duties to the court, like account for the estate funds and expenses. If you have not been formally released then you may find that the probate court requires the attorney that assisted you be paid before being released.
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