Is there an estate value threshold where debt collectors have no claim after death?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is there an estate value threshold where debt collectors have no claim after death?

My mother died and had an old car, an HD TV$, an old laptop, and about 1200 in a bank account solely in her name. Does any of this need to be divided up between debt collectors?

Asked on July 7, 2017 under Estate Planning, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No matter how small the estate, creditors can try to take whatever money or assets is in it. But since final expenses (e.g. funeral) and probate expenses are paid first, you can likely use the small amount of assets in your mother's estate for those expenses, leaving the creditors with nothing. And, of course, if they contact you, you can tell them how little there is--they may not even bother after that.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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