Illegal Or Just Plain Stupid (LONG)

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Illegal or just plain stupid? The man and the woman in this story were divorced 4 years ago. Mr EX moved away to MT where he proceeded to play with his toys and drink until he dropped dead 3 weeks ago. Mrs EX is my sister and naturally has no say in his affairs. Their two kids (mid 20s) have no money of their own and after a few tears being shed are in a rush to get their hands on whatever property/money they can. They borrowed $4000 from their dad’s union buddies to drive out to MT and get this ball rolling (/sarcasm yeah…they’re going to be in a big hurry to repay that…not!). They had a yard sale to get rid of what they didn’t want, put into storage things they still want but cannot move immediately, and loaded up the things they could move and returned with them. Among other things, this includes a large ATV that is not paid for yet and a two-year old car that was purchased only 2 months prior. To the best of my knowledge there is not enough life insurance money to pay them both off. There was enough to pay final expenses and keep the property taxes paid until the house gets sold. The rest of this is just educated guesses on my part since the kids don’t want me involved in their business (and I don’t want to be!) but I’m concerned that any negative consequences will screw up my sister’s life more than it already is. Whoever holds the notes on these two vehicles will soon come looking for them when the payments stop and unless the kids fess up the creditors won’t know where to find them. The car has valid tags now but the kids have no title of any kind (the lien holder has it) so they won’t be able to get new tags when the time comes. And I would bet my bottom dollar that dad’s car insurance died with him and that there is no coverage on the car now. The kids claim that a MT lawyer is advising them, but what they have done so far doesn’t strike me as the sort of things a lawyer would tell them to do. If this turns out to be a fairy tale, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit. Again, I don’t know for a fact that things are exactly as I have described them but if they are…what sort of trouble are the kids in? Grand theft? Fraud? More? Should I just keep my mouth shut and let the chips fall where they may? GrtArtiste
 
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The personal representative of the estate (used to be called executor/executrix of the estate) is responsible for handling the affairs. If there is no personal representative, some states may approve one if one is not selected. That person must settle affairs legally. a personal representative has the duties of: loyalty candor or honesty good faith.
 
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When it comes to those kids, You can only offer advice when asked for. You can voice your opinions and such to your sister but don't be surprised if she takes the kids' sides or tries to bail them out of all this. And remember, you are broke... And they will come around asking...
 

GrtArtiste

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The deceased's father had medical power of attorney over him but beyond that I don't know. I have heard no talk of a personal representative or executor. I'm concerned that the kids took off with this property before a responsible person could be appointed to get this all done legally. It has been only three weeks since the death.
 
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What about a will? With no will, the estate most likely goes to the children. But they will have to go through Probate to be able to sell anything like a house or car. And anything like a car or ATF will end up being repossessed by the creditor unless the loan had life insurance attached to it. These things need to be done legally. Its reasonable for them to clean out the house of personal stuff. It could vary state to state however.
 
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Hello, To whom was the "final expense" money paid? I had the experience of insurance money being paid to a funeral director immediately (long before probate). Perhaps there was a provision in his insurance which covers real estate taxes for a while? If the kiddies made off with a car which they cannot register what then would they do with it? It sure would sound like theft to me. Mark Twain said you never know your relatives until an inheritance is involved. Kira
 

GrtArtiste

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I don't know that any final expense money has been "paid" yet, only that there is supposedly enough money coming to cover the costs involved. One of the kids is beneficiary to all the insurance policies. I could've been clearer about that in the beginning.
 
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Your sister is in no trouble from this deal so don't worry about her (unless she chooses to involve herself). The kids are in their 20's so it's time they learned about this thing known as 'LIFE',,, and they're about to learn it the hard way. Stay as far from this mess as you can for your own peace of mind.
 
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As uncharitable as this sounds, butt out. If your sister asks for advice, give it, but other than that there's nothing you can do or say what will suddenly give those kids an epiphany. If they haven't learned ethics or morality by their mid 20s, they are unlikely to do so any time soon.
 
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Originally Posted By: FowVay
Your sister is in no trouble from this deal so don't worry about her (unless she chooses to involve herself). The kids are in their 20's so it's time they learned about this thing known as 'LIFE',,, and they're about to learn it the hard way. Stay as far from this mess as you can for your own peace of mind.
I agree with this 100%.
 
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Originally Posted By: FowVay
Your sister is in no trouble from this deal so don't worry about her (unless she chooses to involve herself). The kids are in their 20's so it's time they learned about this thing known as 'LIFE',,, and they're about to learn it the hard way. Stay as far from this mess as you can for your own peace of mind.
+10000000
 
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My sister has two sons, one is almost 24 and the other is almost 17. being her brother, she quickly dismisses anything I say about her kids as none of my business. I suggest staying out of her affairs. she's an adult and should handle her own kids. I don't mean to sound mean about it, but I have bad experiences offering advice to my sister about her kids.
 
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Originally Posted By: GrtArtiste
Illegal or just plain stupid?
Yes, both. If your former BIL died intestate (without a will), his estate will have to go through probate court. Removing property from the estate, particularly titled property, and without proper transfer of title, is a problem. You said the title to one vehicle is held by a lien holder. Taking possession of this vehicle before the probate court distributes it from the estate and without title may constitute theft. Since the car is only two years old, its value almost certainly guarantees a theft of the vehicle would be classified as a felony. Same for the ATV. As your sister's children are grown, the consequences will fall to them, and not to her.
Originally Posted By: GrtArtiste
Should I just keep my mouth shut and let the chips fall where they may?
Earlier advice to stay as far away from this matter as possible is very sound. I'd advise your sister not to receive or take possession of any property her children may have taken. That includes "storing" things, even temporarily, for her kids.
 
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Originally Posted By: FowVay
Your sister is in no trouble from this deal so don't worry about her (unless she chooses to involve herself).
This should be the case. Unless, the sister was still listed on some of his property as a co-owner or debtor. I doubt that, since they've been divorced for so long. In a similar case, my wife was previously married. When they got divorced her ex didn't refinance the car like he was supposed to in the divorce decree, it was still in both their names. He defaulted on it, so it also hurt my wife's credit. Unless the OP's sister is in a situation like that, then she should be fine.
 
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If they continue to make payments on the car and the ATV, the loan companies will be unlikely to raise an issue. If they do not.......The loan companies will look, but won't be likely to find them, until someone gets stopped for a traffic violation, or tries to sell one or the other. Unlikely to be any charges filed, in any case. A lien will likely be filed against the estate, but without assets, it will likely go unsatisfied. This is a good example of why people with bad credit have to pay more.
 
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Colorado
Originally Posted By: FowVay
Your sister is in no trouble from this deal so don't worry about her (unless she chooses to involve herself). The kids are in their 20's so it's time they learned about this thing known as 'LIFE',,, and they're about to learn it the hard way. Stay as far from this mess as you can for your own peace of mind.
+1. Agreed. And the absolute value of the assets involved are such that lawyers are not going to rush in to litigate this comparatively small mess.
 
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Either the decedent has a will, which will dictate the handling of the estate, or the estate will be settled under the Montana law covering intestate decedents. I really doubt that Montana law says that one's children have the right to loot the esatate upon death with no legal process, particularly if there are unsatisfied creditors. What they'll do with titled personal property I have no idea. It'll clearly be difficult to renew the car's registration, although maybe not if renewal by mail is possible in Montana. This wouldn't be a problem with the ATV, since it isn't a road legal vehicle. In both cases, though, the children will be guilty of conversion, since the lienholder has an enforceable property interest. This is a bad situation. If it were my wife, I'd tell her once to advise her children to cut it out and then to simply wash her hands of the whole matter. The children are legally adults and are responsible for their own decisions and actions. Having said all of the above, the nephew of my paternal grandfather's second wife, who survived him, basically looted her estate, which included substantial liquididty. He had ready access to her assets, since he had power of attorney. A CA attorney contacted by my family said that there was little to be done about it and that such things happened all the time.
 
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