How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Loren Your Own Question
Loren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 34438
Experience:  30 years experience in the practice of estate law.
Type Your Estate Law Question Here...
Loren is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My husband died. He didn't have much. We live in florida and

Customer Question

My husband died. He didn't have much. We live in florida and been married 30 years. I was told of a savings account he has that didn't have much, some unpaid dividends so I'm guessing he has a stock somewhere, a car loan, and a 6000 American express bill. Do I need a lawyer? Do I pay his debt? We own a house together and am scared if I don't settle things it will go against my estate
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

Good morning. I am Loren, a Florida licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you.

Does the value of his estate exceed $75,000 (the savings and stock, perhaps)?

Were you on the AMEX account as an account holder or authorized user?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No I am not an authorized user of the Amex. And I have no idea about the amount value of the stocks. All we know about that is he recieved $50 dividend check recently in the mail from Manulife. The house is in both our names. Car loan and what I believe is another loan on the house is in his name only. Sorry I could not accept phone offer. Money is low right now
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information.

First, Florida is not a community property state you are not personally liable for your husband's debt. So, AMEX can only satisfy the open balance from your late husband's individual assets.

There is no law that says you must put the estate through some form of probate and if the estate is not solvent then there may not be a reason to do so.

However, if there are assets in his name, there is an "informal" means of probating his estate.
“Summary Administration” is generally available only if the value of the estate subject to probate in Florida (less property which is exempt from the claims of creditors; for example, homestead real property in many circumstances) is not more than $75,000, and if the decedent’s debts are paid, or the creditors do not object. Those who receive the estate assets in a summary administration generally remain liable for claims against the decedent for two years after the date of death.

If you go this route then you will need to address AMEX and other creditors.

You may want to seek local counsel to help you with this. The Florida Bar maintains an excellent online referral program:

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

If you have no further questions, and have not yet done so, please remember to leave a favorable rating (Excellent or Good) so that I am credited by JustAnswer for assisting you. A bonus is not required, but is always appreciated.