Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
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Is the life insurance policy payable to named beneficiaries or her estate? Are you co-signers only or joint owners of the bank account?
The life insurance is payable to my wife only, not the estate and we are joint owners of the account, or I believe that's the term. We went into the bank yesterday and were able to close her savings and transfer the amount to checking without any paperwork, so I'm assuming that we are joint owners.
Yes, you were joint owners of the account if the bank allowed you to close the account and transfer funds. As such, your mother-in-law's interest terminated on her death and her creditors have no claim to those account funds. They also have no claim to the life insurance since it transferred automatically to your wife (the beneficiary) at the time of her mother's death).
Since the only other assets are household and the car (probably all worth less than $1,000, the creditors are not likely to take any action and the most appropriate plan is generally to just ignore the situation. You could use a small estate affidavit to transfer title to the vehicle but that requires you to make a statement via affidavit that debts have been paid or provided for. Thus, that something that will generally be left alone for several years until the statute of limitations on any debts she owes has run. At that time, those debts are unenforceable and title can then be transferred.
Good news, thank you very much.
You're very welcome.
Hi again. So another issue has come up with my mother-in-laws final affairs. We're wondering if we have to file a tax return for her. I'm thinking that since there is no will and no probate, there is no legal executor or administrator, so there's no one person legally responsible to do so. I'm sure she would have ended up getting a refund since she lived pretty close to the poverty line, but can you see any legal issues on our part if we don't file for her?
Thanks much, now I can tell my brother-in-law to relax. :)
Okay, so now the next question that just came up is if she is due a refund, could one of the children file her taxes and then claim that refund, or will there be an issue with that like there would be with transferring the title to the car? Would the filer be able to claim the refund even though she still has outstanding debts on the estate?
This should be the last question, I hope. :)
Sorry about the multiple questions in one thread, I wasn't quite sure how the system worked.
I just rated you again, so it appears that you should receive the compensation for an additional question, at least as far as I can tell. You've really been a big help, so thank you again for your time and expertise.