Once my father passes, how should I proceed to settle his "estate" when I have no funds to work with?

Asked about 1 year ago - Fort Myers, FL

I quit my job and moved to Florida over one year ago to care for my father in his home. Each of us live only on our social security check. His Will leaves fifty percent of his estate to me and fifty percent to his step-daughter, who lives out of state. His condo has two mortgages that can be paid off (just) by selling the condo at current market values. He also has a couple of unsecured loans and some medical bills on which he is making payments. We barely get by, financially. He does have all of his funeral and burial costs paid for. I am named as Executor in his Will. Since there will be no money to pay his mortgages and Condo Association fees after he dies, I don't even know how long I can stay in the condo. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Carol Anne Johnson

    Contributor Level 18

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Best Answer
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    Answered . It would appear that the home is your father's homestead. Since that is the case, it will pass outside of probate as a matter of law. The other attorneys have mentioned that probate probably should not be opened right away. They say this because after your father passes away, his creditors will have a maximum of two years to file any claims against the estate. If no probate is filed, it is likely that few creditors will be aware of his passing until after the two years has expired.

    The problem with this is that you will be forced to continue to pay for the Condo fees and mortgages for the two year period. There are ways to transfer ownership interest in the property that will allow you to sell it after his passing without having to initiate a probate proceeding. Please, do not do so without the advice of a real estate attorney or you may inadvertently trigger the "due on sale" clause for the mortgages. Good luck.

    Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. : (727) 647-6645 : carol@caroljohnsonlaw.com : Wills, Trusts, Real Property, Probate,... more
  2. Stephanie Sauer Woods

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    3

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    Answered . When your father passes on contact a probate lawyer and set up a consultation to go over the details of your father's estate, including his assets, debts, and creditors. Depending on the situation at that time, it may not be advisable to establish a probate right away. There will still be certain things that you would have to do, like file his original Will with the Court and notifying Social Security Administration, but a probate may not be necessary or advisable at the get go.
    It may also be a good idea to meet with an estate planning attorney now to see what you can do to make things go smoother when your father does pass on.

  3. Dennis Michael Phillips

    Contributor Level 17

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Probate is not a necessity. Using certain deeds, beneficiary designations, and other techniques can obviate the need for probate altogether. And it's cheaper. Read my blog about probate avoidance deeds (enhanced life estate deeds).

    Please visit our website at www.411FlaLaw.com and watch our video. It is an eye-opener to most people who have no... more
  4. Adam Troy Rauman

    Contributor Level 14

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Contact a local estate planning attorney to discuss in detail your father's assets and liabilities. There may be some planning that can be done today to help your situation after your father's death.

    Answer does not constitute legal advice. (727) 471-0039 or arauman@protectyourfuture.com, This answer is... more

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