Who is considered to be a person’s “estate”?

UPDATED: Aug 5, 2011

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Who is considered to be a person’s “estate”?

My husband died without a Will 4 months ago. I received a letter from Commomnwealth of Massachusetts MassHealth. They say : “Dear Estate of… you received an overpayment of $1,721.91 from MassHealth Premium Assistance Program ….MassHealth may forward your account to a collection agency or sue you in order to collect the overpayment. ” We do not have children, but my husband has three children (22, 19, and 15) from his first marriage. May I ask you please, who in this case is the estate of my husband? If both his children and I, then how is the requested amount has to be distributed among us to pay to MassHealth?

Asked on August 5, 2011 Massachusetts


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your husband.

Estate is not referring to a person or persons.  Estate means real property (real estate) and personal property that your husband left; for example, money, vehicles, etc.

Since your husband did not leave a Will, the rules of intestate succession will determine inheritance.  Intestate succession means dying without a Will.  As the surviving spouse, you would inherit your husband's entire estate.

If there is little or nothing in the estate, then a lawsuit filed against the estate won't recover anything.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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