How do we pay for funeral expenses? He does not have life insurance. How long does the probate process take? I believe his assets are limited to what is in his checking account and his credit card debt exceeds that amount. How do his creditors get paid or are the debts forgiven?
I'm sorry for your loss -- I know it's a tough time for all concerned.
You may want to go to my web site -- http://www.goldenlawcenter.com -- and download my paper, "What to Do When a Loved One Dies." You'll find useful information on what to do during the first few weeks after a death.
Funeral expenses can be tackled in a couple of ways. First, and probably the easiest, you can front the money yourself and get reimbursed. Second, you can petition the Probate Court for the appointment of a special personal representative with the authority to use his funds to pay for a funeral. Third, you could ask the funeral home if they are willing to wait on payment until after someone has legal authority over the funds.
There are a lot of potential answers to your other questions, depending on what assets he had, how those assets were owned, who the creditors are, etc., etc. Your best bet is to set up an appointment with me or some other attorney who does a lot of probate work .My job as a probate attorney is to make your job easier by knowing how the law works and steering you in the right direction during a difficult time. Experienced probate attorneys charge a lot less than you may think, because handling these cases regularly makes for a lot of efficiencies.
Golden Law Center
E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.
I am sorry to hear about your loss. I agree with counsel's thoughtful response. Under the new probate code, you may have the option of having a simplified estate process. In order to pay for funeral expenses, you should check to make sure that there was no prepaid funeral. If there are assets in the estate, it is common for family members to advance funds for the funeral and then be reimbursed from the estate.
Advice provided is of a general nature to provide guidance. Divorce law is state specific. One should always check the laws in their home jurisdiction. An attorney-client relationship is not intended or established through provided responses.
If the estate is under $25,000 then you may be able to file a Voluntary Administration which is a one-time filing that appoints you (if you are eligible) as the estate representative. This would give you access to the accounts quickly. As far the creditors claims, creditors have a period of one year to file claims against the estate. However, it sounds like the estate is insolvent. You should make an appointment with an attorney to determine how to best proceed.
The above answer is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You can contact me directly at 978-657-5600 or by email at [email protected]
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