We’ve blogged about multi-language legal translation and court interpreting services in the cases involving non-English-speaking clients’ testamentary capacity and undue influence. If a parent is deceased, can creditors go after their assets in order to pay off outstanding debt? For example, can a bank holding a mortgage force a surviving child to sell a car to repay the debt?
The answer, as often is in the legal field, is ‘it depends’. Essentially, if the parent’s probate estate, or the assets that do not have beneficiaries named on them, are not held in trust, or are less than $100,000.00, then one can transfer title to themselves using the small estates affidavit.
However, to do so, one must indemnify anyone who transfers property to you against all claims. In other words, if a credit card company sues to get the car or proceeds from its sale and you have already transferred the asset to yourself, then you are assuming responsibility for the debt.
However, if the parent has assets in a foreign country, then both local and international laws come into play. For example, in some instances foreign-held property may be exempt from US-based creditors yet still subject to US estate taxes.
In order to avoid any unexpected liabilities, it is essential that all assets, property, trusts and wills be clearly outlined both in English and be accompanied with a foreign language translation into the language of the jurisdiction where the property is held.