Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Florida

Deceased parent without Will

My Mother passed away recently without a Will or Power of Attorney. She had few assets but a lot of credit card debt ($30,000). Her condo and car are in her name only that are worth ($35,000). My brother and I are on her checking and saving accounts and we are named as beneficiaries for a small pension ($9000) and a possible life insurance policy of $10,000. Both of these are subject to review and we may not receive. First, are her children responsible for her credit card debt? Secondly, how can we avoid probate for the condo & car?

Asked on 12/29/99, 9:17 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Kevin Byrnes Kevin P. Byrnes, Attorney at Law

Re: Deceased parent without Will

Unless you signed something saying you agreed to be

responsible for the credit card debt, you are absolutely

not liable. In light of the debt situation of the estate,

you cannot legally or morally avoid probate for the condo

and car. The estate will have to be opened and any assets

belonging to the estate (condo, car, none or all or a portion

of the checking and savings dependent upon how the

signature cards are filled out and possibly the life

insurance if not completed properly as to beneficiary) will have

to be disclosed. The pension is probably safe, so long as you were a named

beneficiary at the time of her death.

If you need help, feel free to contact me.

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Answered on 1/05/00, 5:32 pm

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