We live in Tennessee and my wife's father unexpectedly passed 2 days ago. He has a life insurance policy through work and a bank account all totaling around $30000. We believe him to have some creditors(medical possibly credit card).
For the insurance policy, is there a beneficiary listed? If so, it goes directly to the beneficiary and is not part of your father's estate or subject to your father's creditors. If there is no beneficiary, the insurance policy is part of his estate and subject to creditor claims. For the checking account, are there joint owners on the account or is the account pay on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) to anyone? You will need to review the signature card. If it is a joint account or POD or TOD, then the bank account is not part of his estate and not subject to creditor claims. If these assets go into the estate and there are creditors, you may want to wait one year until after death to open the estate to try to avoid creditor claims.
My condolences on your loss.
The first question to address is whether or not your father-in-law had a Will and if so who is named as the Personal Representative (Executor) of the estate. The next step - assuming he was single and/or your wife was appointed - is to contact a probate attorney in your area to assist in filing a probate.
Please note, that outstanding bills need to be paid from the funds of the estate.
I wish you and your family all the best in this difficult time.
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it's important to do some analysis here, as the life estate beneficiary may not be the estate itself, and the bank account may be joint or POD. it's possible that the money may never hit the estate, and a probate wouldn't even be necessary. the creditors may be left out to dry......but this is only speculation - consult with a local TN attorney who has access to all the paperwork.
Licensed in MD and DC only. General answer provided based on limited facts. Please seek your own legal advice.
You will need to first determine how the bank account is titled and who the beneficiary is of the life insurance. You will need to find out if he had a will or a trust. If the bank account was titled in his own name then that will have to go through probate and distributed according to the terms of his will. If he didn't have a will then the law of intestate succession will apply. If he had a trust and the account was titled in the name of the trust then the trust document will control the distribution. If it was jointly titled then it will likely go to the surviving joint account holder. The life insurance will go to the named beneficiary. If no beneficiary is named then it will go to his estate and a probate estate will have to be opened. If there is a probate estate then creditors would be paid out of the estate. You need to meet with a local probate attorney to discuss.
My answer is for general information only and does not imply that any attorney-client relationship has been created.
Unclear who the beneficiary is of the life insurance policy, but tens of thousands of claims are denied every year, and a life insurance attorney can help.
First step after the funeral is to determine whether or not your wife's father possessed a will. if he did then the terms of the will will dictate how the assets of the estate are to be distributed. You will also want to do an inventory of his assets. The next step is to consult a probate attorney to determine whether or not you will need to file with Probate. The attorney can also help you with the questions you have regarding the estate.
This response is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as establishing an Attorney-Client relationship. The responses submitted herein are limited by jurisdiction to the laws of the State of Tennessee.
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