Skip to Content

We are a Veteran Owned Business, providing 20% discounts for Veterans, First Responders, Elementary and High School teachers. Please contact us to set up a phone or Zoom meeting. Taking care of you and your family, It's What We Do!

Can I avoid my deceased husband’s creditors by not opening his estate?

Posted on Mon Oct 19, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: Avoiding Probate in Burlington County

Most Recently Updated July 31, 2018.

“My husband died a resident of Burlington County without a will. All his assets were owned joint accounts with me. This week, I received a form letter in the mail saying a bank had issued a statement and proof of claim against my husband’s estate and requesting immediate payment in full. It is addressed to his estate, but came in the mail to me. What should I do?”

Jointly Owned Property with Children

Avoiding Probate in Burlington County

Avoiding Probate in Burlington County

When someone dies without a will and all their assets are held jointly with a spouse, there is no need to file a will. The assets pass to the surviving spouse because of the joint ownership. That being said, avoiding probate this way does not mean that your husband avoided his creditors.

If you are not responsible for the debt yourself, then creditors cannot legally pursue you for payment as the wife, regardless of what a debt collector might say when trying to convince you. However, they can ask that the payment be made from his share of the joint accounts.

To enforce this claim, though, they will have to retain a probate attorney to open the estate as an unpaid creditor and then pursue the joint asset. This is an expensive process, so unless the debt is large, they will likely not pursue the claim. However, if they were successful, those funds would likely come out of the joint account and they will likely seek attorney’s fees for having to pursue their claim.

More Probate Questions?

Avoiding Probate in Burlington County is only part of the overall probate process. By all means, if you wish to learn more, please read my more detailed article, The Probate Process All You Need to Know.

In Conclusion: Avoiding Probate in Burlington County

I hope that this article was helpful in explaining Avoiding Probate in Burlington County. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website. Therefore, please contact me and let me know how I did. Certainly, your comments and questions are welcome!

Let our Probate Lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. To begin with, call to speak to one of our experienced Probate Attorneys.  By all means, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Ultimately our goal is to make the process as painless as possible!

Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Estate Litigation, It’s All We Do

Tags:

Avoiding Probate, Burlington County, creditor claims, New Jersey, Probate, Probate Attorney, Probate Lawyer

Peter KlenkPeter Klenk

What Our clients are saying

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Glenn P.

Peter Klenk ESQ is a thoughtful and capable attorney who we work with on estate planning issues. His firm recently provided us with new Wills, Power of Attorneys and our instructions regarding major health issues. These documents are important for estate and life planning. Peter and his team are masters in the complexities of Estate Law. We highly recommend Peter and his Associates to provide thoughtful advice and outstanding work on these complex issues of the law. Make sure your estate planning documents are up to date, and Peter can be relied on to do an excellent job. Well done Peter!

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Sharon A.

We recently used Peter's firm to update our wills and trusts. We found he and his staff to be well-informed, professional and highly efficient. And equally valuable, Peter explains the law in terms that a layperson can readily understand.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Rocco D.

I have worked with Peter Klenk & his associates for some time now and I have found them to be ultra-qualified, knowledgeable and diligent about their work. I highly recommend them.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Bill

I met Peter soon after he started his practice in Philadelphia, PA. He and his team have always been there for me and my various inquiries throughout my life-changing events, corporate relocations. I have lived in various cities throughout the nation, I have never had a problem in contacting Peter or a member of his team. He and his office responds quickly and returns calls to me to fulfill my requests for information or to revise my estate needs while posing relevant thought-provoking questions that I need to consider to secure my future. One of Peter's best qualities is his ability to answer clients complicated questions in a simple way to ensure comprehension.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Brandon. L

Peter was excellent. He explained everything very clearly and is super friendly. My wife and I originally tried using a lawyer through group legal coverage, but unfortunately the old adage - "you get what you pay for" - applied to the other lawyer, and we decided to go with a real professional.

Let us put our expertise to work for you.

Free consultation within 24 hours.