There are many people who believe that being someone’s “heir” means that you automatically own the things that a deceased family member left behind. This is particularly true with widows and widowers.
The problem is that with modern families being the way that they are, many people pass away having not only spouses, children and grandchildren but step-children and step-grandchildren as well. The laws of inheritance change when a spouse is not also the parent of all of the children of the deceased spouse. Moreover, children, grandchildren and “steps” may have creditors who are perfectly happy to hear that their Debtor has inherited something that is not exempt and that they can capture to pay off a debt. These third parties can be really difficult in a poorly administered estate situation.
The moral to the story is that just like the formalities that surround the buying of a house or a car, all the disclosures, papers to file, fees to pay, when someone dies it is important to make sure that all of the “t’s” are crossed and all of the “I’s” are dotted. Attorneys who practice Probate law can help with all these details whether a court proceeding is needed or not. In fact, making that determination is the first thing that must be done. So, when a loved one has passed, do not delay, see a qualified attorney as soon as possible.
This article is written by an attorney at Attorney Donald Wyatt PC. Always consult an attorney before making any legal decisions. To make an appointment today, please click here to contact us.