Estate Law

Estate law questions? Ask an estate lawyer.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

My wife just died last year. She had a credit card bill of…

Customer Question
My wife just died last...
My wife just died last year. She had a credit card bill of $5400 and department store account of about $200.Since there is no estate except the property we owned in both name, is it better to settle since I am not required to pay any debt of the estate. Could there be any judgments or liens that would prevent me from selling the property in the future. And if I do settle some of the debt, could the creditor report the unsettled portion of the debt as income to the IRS and cause me a tax liability
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Estate Law
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Answered in 6 minutes by:
3/1/2016
Estate Lawyer: Richard, Attorney replied 2 years ago
Richard
Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 57,219
Experience: 29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
Verified

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!

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
For my own information. If settlement was made of the debt ,could the creditor declare the unsettled portion of the debt income
and report that to the IRS since I took on the responsibility to pay part of the debt ?.
Estate Lawyer: Richard, Attorney replied 2 years ago

Thanks for following up. The creditor could, but it would not be issued to you. Rather, it would be issued to your wife and you would not have any liability for this. :)

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Was this answer helpful?

How JustAnswer works

step-image
Describe your issueThe assistant will guide you
step-image
Chat 1:1 with an estate lawyerLicensed Experts are available 24/7
step-image
100% satisfaction guaranteeGet all the answers you need
Ask Richard Your Own Question
Richard
Richard
Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 57,219
57,219 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.

Richard is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

My husband has been driving me insane with questions regarding estate issues since his mother died. I'm not a lawyer! Thanks to JustAnswer, I was able to calm his concerns.

Loretta TIllinois

Thanks Adam!! - A very direct and understandable response - you have been a great help!

Happy CustomerEllicott City, MD

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Thomas McJD

Thomas McJD

Attorney

3,170 satisfied customers

Wills, Trusts, Probate & other Estate Matters

Barrister

Barrister

Attorney

5,908 satisfied customers

17 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate

RayAnswers

RayAnswers

Attorney

5,629 satisfied customers

Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law

Infolawyer

Infolawyer

Attorney

5,145 satisfied customers

Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses.

Ely

Ely

Counselor at Law

1,867 satisfied customers

Fully licensed attorney in Texas in private practice.

RobertJDFL

RobertJDFL

Attorney

1,522 satisfied customers

Experienced in multiple areas of the law.

P. Simmons

P. Simmons

Attorney

1,215 satisfied customers

12+ yrs. of experience including estate law.

< Previous | Next >

Related Estate Law Questions
My spouse and I have executed a Beneficiary Deed to my three
My spouse and I have executed a Beneficiary Deed to my three daughters jointly. While we are still alive can creditors attach our real estate and if so, should we outright deed to them now to prevent … read more
Jessica B
Jessica B
Juris Doctor
1,680 satisfied customers
My son died owing 55,000 to the IRS. He was on a payment
my son died owing 55,000 to the IRS. He was on a payment plan. What I do now? He left a hand written will not notarized or witness is it valied? … read more
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL
Attorney
Juris Doctorate
1,522 satisfied customers
Say someone died six years ago in 2010 and his property was
Say someone died six years ago in 2010 and his property was transferred to his wife under joint tenancy in 2010. Now, a state tax department claims the person owes taxes from years before 2010 because… read more
Attyadvisor
Attyadvisor
Doctoral Degree
8,350 satisfied customers
My uncle died in Seminole County, FL, 11/21/15. No spouse or
My uncle died in Seminole County, FL, 11/21/15. No spouse or lineal family. No life insurance, no vehicles, bank account with $2.00 balance. Only asset he owned is small piece of property with a 1979 … read more
Irwin Law
Irwin Law
Juris Doctor JD
7,185 satisfied customers
A person who owned a home in joint tenancy in Nevada died in
A person who owned a home in joint tenancy in Nevada died in 2012. I was their executor and the estate was settled by set aside as the estate value was only $30,000. He had filed tax returns which lef… read more
N Cal Atty
N Cal Atty
Doctoral Degree
59 satisfied customers
Or new person), If this is a new person the basic situation
Hi Richard (or new person), If this is a new person the basic situation is: My dad passed in Calif without a will, with about $20,000 in debt and virtually no assets, only a car worth approx $4000. Ri… read more
Richard
Richard
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
57,219 satisfied customers
This question is ., Esq.: And now completely different...
This question is for Christopher B., Esq.: And now for something completely different... regarding Sharon's debts (credit cards, medical bills, etc.)... my understanding is that some creditors/entitie… read more
Christopher B, Esq.
Christopher B, Esq.
Attorney
Juris Doctor
2,212 satisfied customers
My mom passed away in april 2014 her house was jtwros to me
My mom passed away in april 2014 her house was jtwros to me her only son.Value of the house is approx. 150,000 i cannot sell it because of a 300,000 debt to irs tax lien of which i pay installments of… read more
P. Simmons
P. Simmons
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
1,215 satisfied customers
We have a buyer for my deceased parents home and found 14 judgments
We have a buyer for my deceased parents home and found 14 judgments against 2 beneficiaries plus a Federal Tax Lien. My parents also had a reverse mortgage. When I add everything up I don't see how I … read more
Richard
Richard
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
57,219 satisfied customers
This is a tax/estate law question. My father passed away
This is a tax/estate law question. My father passed away on January 17, 2013. He had no will. He had no trust. He owned no real property. There was no probate. I am the only surviving heir - though I … read more
RayAnswers
RayAnswers
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
5,629 satisfied customers
Hello, This is a two part question. My ex husband died
Hello, This is a two part question. My ex husband died and because I am the mother of his 3 children and he has no other next of kin I am being appointed as the executor of his case. Because he died i… read more
LegalGems
LegalGems
Juris Doctorate
12,788 satisfied customers
My mother died in November 2012. She owes $1600 in federal
My mother died in November 2012. She owes $1600 in federal income tax for 2012; however, I don't have the money to pay it. Her estate included only non-probate assets: small amounts in joint checking … read more
Barrister
Barrister
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
5,908 satisfied customers
Estate is not settled because in order to settle the bills
Estate is not settled because in order to settle the bills and liens the house and property must be sold. It is one house, which will be torn down, plus 9 acres of land and wetlands in Washington stat… read more
John Legal
John Legal
Doctoral Degree
3,418 satisfied customers
Mom died in 2006, dad passed in 2010. They died with approx
Mom died in 2006, dad passed in 2010. They died with approx $20K in credit card debt and a $40K second mortgage which they took out several years ago to pay medical expenses. Their only asset is their… read more
P. Simmons
P. Simmons
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
1,215 satisfied customers
My father passed away in January, leaving several hefty credit
My father passed away in January, leaving several hefty credit card bills. Even with all the life insurance money, we still won't have enough to cover the entire amount. Could we try and settle with e… read more
GoLaw
GoLaw
Doctoral Degree
751 satisfied customers
My significant other recently passed away. He did not leave
My significant other recently passed away. He did not leave any life insurance, etc. He did leave a small 401K that will be split between his dad and daughter. Who is responsible for his medical bills… read more
Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett
Doctoral Degree
25,741 satisfied customers
My husband died 1 1/2 years ago and he owed quite a bit of
My husband died 1 1/2 years ago and he owed quite a bit of money to 2 credit card companies.....I called them, and because there was No Estate, they wrote off the debts...now this year I got a W-2 fro… read more
Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett
Doctoral Degree
25,741 satisfied customers
I was the co-trustee of a trust for my god-father no monies
I was the co-trustee of a trust for my god-father no monies were left after death but a house was left with a morgage balance of 117K. I rented the house out and had to refi the house to move it to my… read more
ProbateAttorney
ProbateAttorney
Doctoral Degree
268 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x