Q: I don't know what to do! No attorney and being sued. What do I do when I haven't even got into my late dad's bank????
Legal aide rejected me due to not enough resources so I don't know where to turn. I have 3 kids, one disabled and living off her SSI check and food stamps. No probate court since my dad had no assets. Bank wouldn't even tell me if it would be worth it, if there's any money in there at all even with death certificate and my id's. I or he has received 3-4 refunded checks, one in which is over $2000 but I can't cash them. I need a car so bad especially with 2 kids going to school this year and my car can't even get inspected, how could I pay a lawsuit or have a foreclosure on my record?
A: If your father left no more than a home, $60,000 in personal goods and household effects and $75,000 in other assets (such as a car or bank accounts) you can file an Affidavit of Small Estate. The court filing fee ranges from about $300-350, varying with the county. If you file an Affidavit of Inability to Pay Court Costs and that is accepted, the filing fee will be waived. An Affidavit of Small Estate must be signed before a notary by all the heirs at law and by two people who will not inherit and can testify that these are the heirs and the only heirs. The assets must be specifically described. The heirs must promise to pay all the debts and to divide the remainder among them according to the Texas laws of descent and distribution.
If the Affidavit of Small Estate is rejected, you do not get your filing fee back. Since so many are rejected because they are filled out or signed incorrectly or incompletely, it is probably worth your while to pay a lawyer to review and efile the Affidavit of Small Estate and death certificate for you. If you do not qualify for Volunteer Legal Services, you might see whether Lawyer Referral Services in your area offers discounted fees for people of modest means.
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