Sussex, NJ asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Elder Law for New Jersey

Q: NJ: 92 y.o. mom asking for legal document stating my husband & I are NOT RESPONSIBLE for paying her debt/medical bills

In New Jersey: 92 year old mom asking for legal document stating my husband & I (we are both over 55) are NOT RESPONSIBLE for paying ANY of her debt, bills, medical bills, nursing home bills, etc. Nor will we participate in some kind of "Trust" she is setting up. Oldest brother is the executor of her estate, he is responsible for all of her affairs, but he will not communicate with us. Middle brother often falls prey to financial scams. How can we obtain a legal document in New Jersey stating My husband and I are not responsible for any of their financial obligations? Thank you for any advice or assistance you can offer.

2 Lawyer Answers
Morris Leo Greb
PREMIUM
Morris Leo Greb
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Rockaway, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: You will be responsible for all debts incurred by your mother if you signed as a co-applicant when your mother applied for credit cards. You will also be responsible for all credit extended for which you cosigned. In addition you along with siblings may be responsible for debts incurred if your mother is receiving State or County Assistance. If your mother is still alive, then your sibling is not an executor. There is no executor until the will is probated. If the sibling is in charge of your mother's affair, he may have been designated in a Power of Attorney signed by your mother.

Richard Diamond
Richard Diamond
Answered
  • Short Hills, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: Your mother is 92 years old and your oldest sibling is in charge of her financial affairs and he refuses to answer any of your questions as to the status of her assets and expenses and you are therefore fearful that she will pass leaving debt.

I am guessing that there was a discussion with your mother or your oldest sibling about some of your mother's assets being put into a trust and you are uncertain as to what that means as to the distribution of the assets in the trust upon your mother's passing and/or whether that trust will insulate those assets from whatever debts are owed at the time of your mother passing.

Presuming that my understanding of your question is correct, the best way to get a better handle on your concerns is to ask your oldest sibling to sit down with you to review your mothers wishes. I dont know what the relationship is with your oldest sibling but if he does not want to sit with you, ask if its okay for you to sit with the lawyer who drafted the estate planning documents for your mother so that he can explain it to you.

Hiring a lawyer at this moment probably will not accomplish what you are seeking to address.

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