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RayAnswers, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 42327
Experience:  Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law
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My ex-husband died in Tehama Co. CA May 22. Our adult son is sole heir. Estate is a rundo

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My ex-husband died in Tehama Co. CA May 22. Our adult son is sole heir. Estate is a rundown mobile home, a van that doesn't run, maybe $2000 cash. Lots of debts. How do we dispose of his property? What legal requirements are there? There is no will. Also, there are about $800 worth of uncashed checks for tax refunds, both state and federal.

Thanks for your question and good evening.My sympathy for the loss here and your dilemma.

You would have to decide whether the estate is insolvent.Here if you file for probate any creditors can file claims.From the assets you mention it simply may not be worth it given that the creditors would likely get most of what is here.The creditors would claim against any assets in the small estate affidavit.

The assets here would be released to you once you file the small estate affidavit but then the creditors can come after you for these for the debts.


This estate may qualify for a small estate affidavit process.Here is the affidavit aht is involved here it covers estates that are less than $150k.

Second affidavit for DMV to transfer car titles.

Here is a great video to explain the process--note this has been raised to $150k from $100k so you would certainly be under the limit..

It has been my pleasure to assist you today.Please let me know if you have more follow up.


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This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship.Information provided here is not legal advice. Rather it is simply general information.

Here is one more reference that walks you through using a small estate affidavit here to claim assets.

If the debts exceed the assets here you may decide to jsut let it go and not proceed.You do not have to cash the checks or file anything.It would be up to reditors to decide if they pursue any assets.
RayAnswers and other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello Ray,

Thanks for the help. I notice in Sec. 13109 of the Probate Code that an heir receiving personal property through the small estate affidavit process is personally liable for the decedent's debts. Is this liability only for the value of the estate or would my son's own personal property and earnings be at risk?



You would only be liable here up to the value of the assets.In other words you can only pay debts up to the amount of assets in the small estate.You have no personal liability beyond that.


13112. (a) A person to whom payment, delivery, or transfer of the decedent's property has been made under this chapter is not liable under Section 13109 or 13110 if proceedings for the administration of the decedent's estate are commenced in this state, and the person satisfies the requirements of Section 13111. (b) Except as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 13110, the aggregate of the personal liability of a person under Sections 13109 and 13110 shall not exceed the fair market value, valued as of the time the affidavit or declaration is presented under this chapter, of the property paid, delivered, or transferred to the person under this chapter, less the amount of any liens and encumbrances on that property at that time, together with the net income the person received from the property and, if the property has been disposed of, interest on the fair market value of the property accruing from the date of disposition at the rate payable on a money judgment. For the purposes of this subdivision, "fair market value of the property" has the same meaning as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 13111. |