If my mother passed away recently, do I have to sell the house and car to pay her credit card debt of $3,000?

UPDATED: Jun 4, 2014

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If my mother passed away recently, do I have to sell the house and car to pay her credit card debt of $3,000?

She had a credit card debt. After paying medical bills upon her death, and bills to keep up the house, there was not any money left. I am executor of the estate and there is a car worth about $500 and she has a house that is completely paid for. The real estate market is slow and it would take a year or more to sell the home, if it would sell. It needs extensive repairs but is livable.

Asked on June 4, 2014 under Estate Planning, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Those are debts of the estate and as executor, you are supposed to, as necessary, sell assets to pay those debts. If you do not, creditors--the credit card company--could theoretically sue her estate and, if the win, put a lien on property (such as the house) to make sure it gets paid. For $3,000 they may not do so, but they would have the  legal right to do this.

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