My aunt passed away 3/30. She had no spouse or children. I paid for her funeral and burial. She has money in the bank but did not leave any beneficieries. The bank has provided me an Affidavit of Next of Kin. I am concerned as the bank is telling me that I may be responsible to pay her debt back (total debt is unknown.)
You will most likely not be responsible for any of your aunt's debts, unless you were a co-debtor with her in some way. Debt of a deceased person is paid out by the estate itself. The executor will have to negotiate with those owed with what is available in the estate. Hope that helps!
The above response is for educational purposes only. No client-attorney relationship has been established or agreed upon.
You are not personally responsible for your aunt's debt, unless you are a joint debtor or you enter into an agreement to be responsible for it. Creditors may, however, proceed against assets of the estate.
Beyond that, if there are assets in the estate, you are entitled to be repaid funeral costs.
Whether you should proceed to seek to administer her estate will require some understanding of the value of your aunt's assets and the amount and type of debt. You should keep in mind that, depending on the facts, debt can sometimes be negotiated.
You would do well to be in touch with any of us here on avvo who practice in the area of estates, so that you can determine whether it makes sense to move forward with an estate proceeding.
Good luck to you.
Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.
You would not be responsible for your deceased Aunt's debt unless you signed something agreeing to be responsible. (For example, if you co-signed a loan then you would have some responsibility). If your Aunt's Estate is valued at less than $30,000.00 then you could file to be appointed Voluntary Administrator. If her assets are more than that you should consult with an attorney who can help you file the proper paperwork.
The information contained in this post is provided for informational purposes only. It is not tax or legal advice on any subject matter. No readers should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content without seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice with respect to one’s particular circumstances. My firm disclaims liability with respect to acts taken or not taken based on any or all content. This is Attorney Advertising.
You are not responsible for your Aunt's debt her estate is. You would not assume a personal liability for any debts she accrued during her life, unless you accrued them with her, as in a joint credit card or joint mortgage.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline