Hi there. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you.
Some of this depends upon the assets that you owned in both your names. Certain of these co-owned assets pass outside probate and thus are not subject to creditor claims. These include the following: i) joint brokerage and bank accounts which vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; ii) real property held as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety, which also vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; and iii) assets with designated beneficiaries other than the estate such as life insurance and retirement accounts. If your assets you owned with your wife fall within the foregoing, you need not worry because you have no risk of any liens.
If there are other assets which will require your wife's share of the marital property to go through probate, then those could be at risk to your wife's creditors and in that event you would be wise to settle. BUT, even then, I would not settle right out of the box...rather, I would write them, tell them your wife died, there were no available assets to pay this debt, and that they will need to write the debt off. In order for any creditor to put a lien on any assets, the creditor will actually have to pursue the claim to a judgment first. And, in your fact situation, they typically do not go to that expense. If one or more of them do, you will get notice of any suit, and you can settle it at that point.
Finally, let me tell you how sorry I am for the loss of your wife. I'm sure this is a difficult time for you and I will certainly keep you in my prayers!
Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which fully addresses your question. If you have any follow up questions, please ask! If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service as OK, Good or Excellent (hopefully Good or Excellent). Otherwise, I receive no credit for assisting you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!