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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 34262
Experience:  16 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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Hello, My father just passed away and left me executor of

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Hello,
My father just passed away and left me executor of his estate. I was wondering if it is ok to sell his car. It's paid for but I don't know if there would be any issues down the line because of any debts owed like the mortgage or medical bills etc.
Thank you.
Hello and welcome! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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Have you actually filed a petition with the probate court to open a probate case and be formally named as executor of his estate?
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Are you aware of outstanding bills that he owed or are you still in the process of gathering information?
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Have you opened an estate checking account to pay bills out of?
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have not filed a petition to open a probate case. Is this necessary if I am the executor and sole heir as named in his will?


 


The only outstanding bills I'm aware of are his credit card balance and a debt owed to a nursing home. Also, there is his house which is in his name which still has a large mortgage balance.


 


There is a joint checking account in both our names.


 


Do I have authority to sell or rent his home?


 


 

Is this necessary if I am the executor and sole heir as named in his will?
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Yes, that is how a will operates. Things don't just change ownership because there is a written will. The will has to be probated and admitted to court so the person listed as executor can be formally named and be granted the authority to gather all assets, pay any debts, and then transfer any surplus to the heirs.
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Without the formal authority of an executor from the courts, you wouldn't be able to take possession of any bank accounts, transfer any real estate, or sell any vehicles or transfer the title.
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There is a joint checking account in both our names.

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As for the joint checking account, that would have become yours instantly upon his death and is not considered an asset of his estate.
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But the vehicle and/or the house would have to be sold to pay any creditors before you could legally receive anything. Creditors have a higher priority in an estate than heirs.
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So it might be a good idea to add up all his bills and see if he owed more than the car is worth and any equity in the home. If he owes more than he has in clear assets, it doesn't really make sense to even open a probate case and it would be better to do nothing if creditors will get everything.
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Do I have authority to sell or rent his home?

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Legally no. Right now his estate owns the house and if you haven't been legally named executor by a judge, there is no one who can act on behalf of the estate.

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Now practically, since you are the sole heir, there is no one to object to your doing so. You couldn't sell it, because you can't legally sign a deed as executor, but you could rent it if you chose to.

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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I would like rent the house to produce income to pay the monthly mortgage payment and save money for his other debts. Am I allowed to use a portion of that monthly income to pay a monthly management fee to myself or other party?

Am I allowed to use a portion of that monthly income to pay a monthly management fee to myself or other party?
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Yes, from a purely practical viewpoint, since you are the only heir, there is nothing that would prevent you from renting the house out. But since the estate owns the house now, you would legally need to be formally appointed executor before you could pay yourself to manage the house... But once again....there is no one to object to you doing so...
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thanks
Barrister
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