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Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33791
Experience:  15 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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My son died. heroin overdose. He had a car. we planned to

Customer Question

My son died. heroin overdose. He had a car. we planned to sell it to pay for funeral. He still owed money to my husband for car. He was never married but had a 10 year old daughter. Her mother somehow got the police to say I need to give her the car. or I will be charged with auto theft
JA: Since laws vary from place to place, what state is this in? And when did this happen?
Customer: NH. he died March 4th the police called me today
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: no. just got call 2 hours ago
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Legal
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
car is worth 5 or 6 thousand dollars. so ironic that I actually had to sell MY car to pay for my dad's funeral a year ago.
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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I am very sorry to hear that you are going through the loss of your son.. Please accept my condolences on your loss..

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If he owned a car in his name, his estate now owns it and someone would have to file a formal probate case to be appointed the Administrator of the estate before they could sell the car and any other assets to generate cash to pay debts. But the mother of his child is not legally entitled to inherit any assets once the debts are paid, the child is.

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However, debts like the funeral expenses and court costs get paid first before any other debts and all debts have to be paid before any heirs get anything.

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So it is likely that the proceeds from the sale of the car would all go to the funeral and burial costs and any administrative expenses for filing the probate case. The Administrator is also entitled to be paid "reasonable compensation" (normally 2-5% depending on the size of the estate) for their services in settling the estate before any heirs receive anything.

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But from a purely legal perspective, no one has the legal right to keep the car right now is an Administrator hasn't been appointed to settle the estate. So I am not sure how the police are getting involved here as no crime has been committed as long as the mother isn't on the title to the vehicle.

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If she is on the title as a joint owner, then unfortunately the car would become hers instantly upon son's passing..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
She has already filed some paperwork to stAte
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Police said I will be arrested if I do not give her keys and title. She is not on title.
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

Ok, if she has filed to become Administrator first, then if she has been appointed by a judge, you would have to turn the car over to her. But you can then file a written "creditor claim" against the estate for any money you have advanced to the estate for funeral costs or other expenses. As a creditor, she has to pay you first before anyone else because funeral costs get paid first. You just have to send her a written demand for payment along with copies of any receipts or bills that you paid for the estate.

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You can also submit a separate creditor claim for any balance owed on the car loan although that has a lower priority than the funeral costs, attorney fees, and Administrator compensation.

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thanks

Barrister

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