Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in North Carolina

How are bills paid and bequests honored if estate doesn't have the cash?

My Grandmother passed away and doesn't have much of an estate. She had named my mother as JWROS on her investment account and cds. She had me listed as beneficiary on her IRA. Those things pass directly to us and aren't part of the estate. She has a bank account listed jointly with my mother, a car jointly with her husband, some jewelry, furniture, clothing, and a bank account with her husband that he says she didn't contribute to. My mother is named executrix in the will. One question is are the bank accounts part of the estate if held jointly? Funeral bills will be coming in and we need to know if we can use these to pay the bills with. Second question, when she lists bequests such as cash to her husband and his children in her will, what happens if there is no cash in the estate? The household items and jewelry won't be worth that much. I don't know if you can even sell jewelry , etc... that she has given to someone in her will. I really appreciate any help you can give.

Asked on 10/12/08, 2:22 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael E. Hendrickson Attorney & Counsellor at Law
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Re: How are bills paid and bequests honored if estate doesn't have the cash?

Joint ownership is, of course, presumed with such bank accounts, and the funds in this particular joint account should be considered as available for payment of legitimate claims presented for payment to your deceased grandmother's estate, including bills for her funeral expenses(although the spouse---to his shame--may attempt to challenge such use of these funds).

If there are insufficient assets in the estate of the deceased to pay bequests referenced in her will, then none will be paid.

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Answered on 10/13/08, 9:30 am

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