Mom passed away, on Medicaid 9 months prior. Only asset is house with RM and old car - don't plan on probate. We're in Texas.

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Mindy - "As an aside on the above... you can flat just opt out of & decline to be executor….." in other words, you walk away

Atty you met with suggested you "walk away"
RM your spoke with suggested you "walk away"

Fall out would be that you will get a flurry of letters from RM, MERP (HMS is the outside contractor for TX) and other debtors of mom's. But if the debt was mom's & hers alone, kinda is not your problem. Folks can decline to be executor OR named executor died & no update (a codicil) so no living executor OR the named executor cannot post bond.

Call PC to ask what happens if no executor. The bigger TX counties PC have a staff atty or even a couple of staff attorney's who you can speak with - sometimes you schedule an "in chambers" meeting for this. Really staff at PC are pros and very helpful and super informative. My understanding in my not-an-atty-viewpoint, is that if no will (died "intestate") then all assets escheat to the state.

It sounds like you are totally spent by your mom's death… emotionally and physically. If you just can't "do" anymore, you walk. It's not an easy decision.

cue Johnny Cash….
As sure as night is dark and day is light,
I keep you on my mind both day and night,
And happiness I've known proves that it's right, 
Because you're mine, I walk the line

if you can't "walk" anymore, walk away
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Thank you for your response. The RM company will not communicate with me, since an estate administrator is not in place. They did send a document telling me that we can either sell the house, buy the house or walk away. Due to the amount owed and the need for obvious repairs on the house, we're not interested in opening probate for little or no return. We don't have money to even start the process and I'm emotionally not able to take on anything more. We've had an initial consultation with an attorney and they advised us to walk away. When you factor in the possible MERP claim, there is really little point in doing anything else. My concern has been that MERP can pursue me personally for the amount owed. The attorney assured me that they can only pursue the estate. But if there's no probate, I don't know what happens with their claim. I'm not sure if they have to get in line behind the RM company and see if there's any $ left over after the house forecloses. I wonder how they do this, if there's not an probated estate. I know Texas is not a state that places a lien on property, so their only recourse is to file as a creditor (I assume). I hate it that my mom had to take out the RM, but it was the only thing that allowed her to hold onto her house for as long as she did.
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The RM is a secured debt so has to resolved first. Aafterwards IF there's any $ left from RM settlement then to other claims against the estate. MERP is an unsecured claim. RM should be able to tell you what the amount owed is. It could well be that between the $ paid from RM plus all their fees and other costs, there is zero back. You might want to find out what this figure is before you get in too deep in all this.

To me, you kinda need to realize that there can be costs & time in selling a property and a car and dealing with estate recovery. RMs can require insurance & repairs to be done. You might want to give some thought as to if there are any future expenses, how are they going to be paid? And if you or others are wanting (or needing) to be repaid IF there will be $ left after RM is settled. If so, you may think about opening probate as all property costs incurred by executor can be themselves a claim against the estate by the executor. Usually executor costs are a priority claim for probate (so ahead of estate recovery). Funeral costs are a priority claim too.

You or whomever was moms DPOA &/or got her correspondence from Medicaid, will eventually get a NOI (notice of intent) from the State or it's outside contractor for MERP. There will be a questionnaire as to what assets mom had. If you or other heirs will be filing exemptions or exclusions, you need to submit those details. If you do nothing, there seems to be an assumption that recovery is cost-effective to do. 9 mos is probably around a 50k NH medicaid bill.

But whatever the case, there is going to need to be some sort of legal framework needed for dealing with moms estate and distribution of moms assets, which the car would be and any RM $ leftovers would be. There could be the possibility - assuming mom has a valid will - that you open traditional probate, or maybe you could do a small estates affadavit or maybe a muniment of title. I'd suggest you go to the probate court website for the county that mom died in to see what your options are and what costs are.

As an aside on the above, if all this looks like way, way more than you can deal with... If theres no reason for you to get involved, and the costs / time are beyond what you can manage, you can flat just opt out of & decline to be executor. Folks do this all the time if there is no $ in the estate and elder died with nothing but debts. Its a harsh reality.
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