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Do I have to pay estate creditors in Gloucester County if no estate is opened?

Posted on Fri Aug 7, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: Creditor Claims Against Gloucester County Unopened Estate

Most Recently Updated July 19, 2018.

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

Creditor Claims Against Gloucester County Unopened Estate

Creditor Claims Against Gloucester County Unopened Estate

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

If you are not responsible for the debt yourself, then they cannot pursue you for payment as his wife. However, they can ask that the payment be made from his share of the joint accounts. To enforce this claim, though, the creditor 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, it is unlikely they will pursue the claim. However, if they are 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?

The creditor claim 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: Creditor Claims Against Gloucester County Unopened Estate

I hope that this article was helpful in explaining creditor claims. 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!

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Tags:

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

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