DO I NEED TO OPEN AN ESTATE TO DO THAT?

January 4, 2011 § 4 Comments

Seated in your office are the decedent’s adult children, asking your advice about daddy’s estate, which consisted of $5,000 in a bank account, a high-mileage car, and his last paycheck from Lockheed, which they have yet to receive.  They candidly tell you that they don’t have a lot of money to pay to probate an estate. 

I know what you’re thinking:  “Oh, well.  One more low-to-no fee estate won’t kill me.”

But hold on a minute.  Take time out to check out these statutes:  MCA §§ 91-7-322 and 323, and 81-5-63 and 81-12-143.  You’ll see that they allow you with some simple paperwork to get your clients the money and title to the car without the necessity of opening an estate.

MCA § 91-7-322 and 81-5-63 allows the bank to pay up to $12,500 to the decedent’s “successors” as defined in the statute, with the filing of a simple affidavit.  The same section would authorize issuance of title to the car. 

MCA § 91-7-323 allows the former employer to pay any outstanding wages directly to the successors. 

MCA § 81-12 143 authorizes a savings and loan to pay a savings account to successors without an administration, provided that they execute a bond.

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