No will, no estate

UPDATED: Apr 1, 2019

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No will, no estate

My mother just passed without a will but she does not own a home or a car. She
has very little left in a bank account. Is there anything that must be done
with any bills that she has left?

Asked on April 1, 2019 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No. The heirs, such as children (like yourself) of the deceased are NOT responsible in any way for the deceased'd final bills: you don't have to pay them, and you don't even legally have to spend any time or effort on dealing with them--they are not your bills. That said, to avoid repeated phone calls, letters, etc. from creditors, it is often a good idea to send a photocopy of the death certificate to any creditors who contact you, along with letting them know that the estate is "insolvent"--no money and no assets. Most creditors will give it up then, rather than continuing to waste everyone's time. I did this when my own father passed away insolvent, and most of his creditors ceased trying to contact me.

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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