I haven't even finished with my mother's estate and now I have an aunt's! My father's younger sister passed away last year and I've been appointed the estate administrator. She didn't have a will and I fear the estate debts will far exceed the assets. She has a hospital bill for almost $40,000 and her funeral hasn't been paid for yet. There will probably also be attorney and accounting fees. Anyway, all she left was a dilapidated mobile home and whatever is in it, which on a perfunctory inspection, doesn't appear to be anything but the usual household contents and her amateur paintings. (see link to photos of the house which she called the Blue Orchid Gallery). The home has been vacant so long and there is water damage in the basement with the resultant mold problem. She had pets which badly soiled the floors. The furnace is an outdated kerosene heater. I am just wondering whether I should hire an estate liquidator since I don't think the value of the contents would even pay their fee. It's almost too much for me and no one to help. Any suggestions?
here are photos:
Are you sure there's value in anything left behind- doesn't sound like it to me. A liquidator will charge a fee, which probably will fall upon you and the last thing you want to do is incur anymore debts. Is there any value in the land the mobile home sits upon? Sounds like her bills will have to be written off by the hospital and funeral home. Unless your name is on anything you aren't legally obligated. For her debts. Good luck in sorting this all out.
Sorry for all that you have been through with the passing of your Mom and your Aunt.
Don't have any answers for you. Hope you can find some items that will help with expenses.
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I'm so sorry to hear you've been left with this task. Looks like there may be a bit of furniture worth something, but not much else unless its hidden somewhere.
Have faith, you'll get through this.
Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
Do you have auctioneers in your area? If so, I would call a couple & have them come take a look. They can likely give you an idea if there is enough there to hold an auction and if it would be worth their time/effort. I would include the sale of any land & the trailer too.
You might want to think about including some things from your mother's that you could dispose of at the same time. The auctioneer would be able to keep the 2 lots seperate. Most of them get a fee + percentage and also most now charge a buyers preium to help cover advertising & help for the actual getting ready & sale costs (labor). If you are willing to do some of the work in preparation that might cut down on expenses.
Years ago, I helped an auctioneer a few times & my brother does it frequently in Ill.
I LOVE auctions! I've gotten LOTS of pieces of furniture at them as well as books & knick knacks & tools. Oh, and kitchen items too!
"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
Generally, legal fees are set by the court based on the value of the estate. If the estate value is zero, then your legal fees would be probably less than $200. If there is no money in the estate to pay the bills, the creditors will have to write it off, except for the funeral home. The courts will mandate that be paid for first from any proceeds from the sale of anything.
I don't understand how you were appointed the administrator without an attorney. I assume that this was done by the county probate court. Fees are dependent upon the cost of any filings, etc., so if you need an attorney discuss fees first. Did the court give you a list of the required filings? What do you have to file for the state? Is there any last federal income tax return due for the final year? These are all questions that you will have to answer. I'm surprised that the funeral home didn't require payment first before any services were rendered. In my area, you either pay in full or else they will not perform any service. Unless someone has been an executor or administrator they don't realize how much work it takes to get everything done. I've been an executrix and I spent considerable time and money getting everything done properly. It's not easy.
I am so sorry for your losses and the daunting tasks before you.
I would make a pass or two through looking for anything I would want to keep. After that...perhaps you could do an open house type thing and take bids on the whole kit and kaboodle.
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It sounds to me like you would not have any responsibility for anything, including disposing of the contents of the home (I did not know trailers had basements)
But anyway could you consult an estate attorney to find out? You would have to pay of course an hourly fee. Or perhaps your states council on the elderly could give you some advice.
Once you are appointed as an adminstrator you do have responsibilities. Depending on your state, you have to follow whatever guidelines are set down for adminstrators and estates.
Check with the state laws where the estate is located? You should be able to resign as an administrator. Sounds like you have had enough on your plate now with your dealing with your Mom's, and if your Aunt's estate is not worthy, you will get no benefits from your efforts. If your conscience allows, I would walk away from this one.
I'm thinking along the lines of what LOS and Conrad have said.
If you were just informally asked to do this, you do have a lot on your plate already. You might want to just remove any personal items that you or the family want and ask to be excused from this if there is someone you are having to answer to.
If not, I would hold an estate sale(after removing any personal items) and I would use the proceeds to satisfy (as much as possible) any local bills in order of what you feel is importance. I'm sure it won't be long until creditors slap a lien on the property.
My husbands uncle died and his family walked and left his house as it was. It's still sitting there with a lien on it . My FIL has been paying the taxes on it each year and one year we'll get aound to doing what we have to to claim it as its on family propery.
I don't understand why people don't make arrangements to have their business and funeral arrangments taken care of after their death rather than leaving them for others to struggle with.
So sorry you have to deal with this. No help at all? It's hard enough to deal with when there IS a will.
She had no life insurance to at least take care of the funeral expenses?
You really don't want to incur any more debt, so unless there is an agency that can help you at no charge with liquidation I probably wouldn't go that route.
You could have an Estate Sale yourself, but of course have someone help you!
In Ohio, you cannot have an estate sale nor you cannot sell the property (real estate or car), without the court's permission. I just finished my dad's estate and it was a PITB even though he had a will. Also in Ohio, attorney fees are a percentage of the value of the estate plus filing fees.
The first bill that had to be paid after the sale of the home was the mortgage, then the funeral home - both checks were done at the signing. Dispersal of funds could not happen for another 3 months.
The court allowed us to sell the car and personal property so that we could pay hospital and utility bills. The funeral home knew us and knew we would pay them as soon as the house sold, which was very quickly done.
It all depends on the state in which your aunt lived on how estates are handled. You can even go to the Clerk of Courts yourself and find out what needs to be done.
Just keep accurate records of all income and expenditures and you MUST keep all receipts and cancelled checks for everything.
When my dad died back in the early 90s, as the only child I had to take care of everything. Other than having life and medical insurance,and a burial plot, he had taken care of nothing in preparation for his death even though he was 78 and in poor health. he taught me a valuable lesson with that!
He had in the last months before his death bought a trailer which he had put on our property. and a nice little used car.
He left no will and no money to settle things with. Lucklily we lived in a small town and I went and talked to the bank where the MH and car were financed. They waited for me to sell the MH home and I got enough from it to pay it off. As for the car, we needed a new car so I just got it refinanced in my name for what was owed on it. As for his other bills, there weren't many- I contacted the creditors and explained the situation and they had to write them off.
People really need to plan for what will happen to their "estate" when they die. It is a real burden to leave that on loved ones.
This really is an area where one needs to consult with a qualified estate attorney practicing in the specific jurisdiction where the deceased resided. Even though the Uniform Probate Code was drafted and adopted by all 50 states in the late 1970s, each state has small but important variations in their own rules and regulations which can have a great impact on how individuals in this situation should proceed.
For example, the idea that attorney fees will be based on the size of the estate; many years ago that was correct but that hasn't been true for many years in the majority of venues. An $80,000 (including real estate) probate may involve much more work than one exceeding a million dollars ~ it all depends. Here in Idaho, attorney fees are based on the work involved and, usually, billed on an hourly basis.
As for going to the local court and asking the clerk to advise someone on how to proceed? Not happening here; giving legal advice is a felony unless the individual is an attorney licensed to practice law in the particular state so, please, don't assume that the "clerks" have the answers. They might want to help you ~ they will sympathize with you BUT they cannot give you the answers you need.
For that you will need to consult with an attorney who is qualified to do so.. Weakestlink, I feel for you and hope you take this opportunity to find out exactly what your responsibilities and liabilities will be should you choose to go forward with taking care of your aunt's estate. I wish you only the best....
BTW, I think there must be more to this story than what you have posted since you said you "were appointed" to be the administrator? In any event, personally, I would go through the premises, remove all photographs, legal documents, bank statements, letters and family history memorabillia. Then hire an estate auction service to dispose of the remainder of the estate - both personal and real property - with strict accounting and the funds being deposited into your attorneys' trust fund for dispursement according to law.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Idaho Resident,
My aunt's attorney is handling the estate. He's the one that filed in the county Surrogate Court to have me appointed the estate administrator. However, he really hasn't been much help. When I had my initial consultation with him, he just shrugged when I asked him any questions like "Is there any liens on the property?" or "What's the first order of business?" I'm sure he's not going to bend over backward to help when he's not sure there's going to be anything in it for him.
I simply don't understand, your aunt had an attorney but no will?
I understand that I don't know you or the situation personally. But from what you have said, if I were in your shoes, I would be asking the attorney those questions and expecting direct answers, not letting him blow me off. And if he weren't willing to do so, I would collect any personal items myself or the family wants, and I would give him the key and walk away.
Hmmmm, it would be highly unusual for an attorney to initiate an estate proceeding on his own. There must be more going on here than what has been posted so far. I have never heard of any attorney filing a probate on behalf of a former client who died intestate without someone asking him to take that action. It defies common sense.
Weakestlink, if you are not getting answers from this attorney, I strongly suggest that you consult another attorney who is able and qualified to answer your questions. Best of luck.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Idaho Resident,
lady of shallot? they do have a few mobile home with a special access to a pre-dug basement, esp back here in mi with tornado threats...2 of my nephews have them...
Without a will, how can you be legal "settlor" of Aunt's estate?
In California and most states, a Probate Court determines how assets are distributed. Probate fees are expensive!
Please, eveyone, consult an attorney: establish a Revocable Trust and a pour-over Will. Also appoint someone for medical and financial issues if you become incompassitated
Tessa- My late mother passed w/o a will. This was my bio mom and had nothing to do with my dad I mentioned in a previous post. My siblings and I saw a lawyer and I was appointed executor of her estate and given a legal document proving I was in case I needed to show it. I can't remember the cost- it was not expensive, and only took a few minutes.
I didn't even have that when my dad passed. My word was all I needed. So it does vary what you need I assume depending upon the circumstances and where you live.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Becky56,
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