When a joint bank account with survivorship is the only asset in a deceased's estate - how are the legal fees (if any) and debts (medical, etc.) handled?
A joint account on death would transfer by operation of law to the joint owner. If there are no other assets what legal fees might there be? Executor commissions should be nil if there is no asset in the estate, just debts. State law may determine what happens to the debts. If there are no probate assets does state law hold the beneficiaries of the estate liable for the assets they received outside of probate? Does the will or state law require the executor to pursue non-probate assets for contribution to costs? Will the claimants simply write off their claims (even regardless of what state law provides) if the executor informs them that there are no assets? Perhaps the executor should not even qualify -- no assets, no one to be responsible for debts for which there are no estate assets to pay. That might, depending on state law, put the burden on the creditor (medical bill collection company) to have a court appoint an administrator for the estate to purse the non probate assets to meet the estate's claims. The cost, time and hassle of that may convince the claimants to write off the debts they are trying to collect. Consult an probate attorney in your estate.
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