Both state and federal taxes come with ridiculous penalties and interest rates, and the authorities at either level have virtually unlimited power at their disposal to mess with your life if something bad happens. The IRS can actually take your money without suing you. So, you don’t want to become a blip on their radar screen by being late with payments.
Get it cleaned up as quickly as possible, Olivia. You don’t want to mess around with these guys!
Be prepared, though. It may take somewhere between $250 and $500 in attorney fees and court costs to make this happen. If you’re lucky, you might get a simple motion from the court that would cost you next to nothing. But find a good estate planning attorney who knows Oregon law inside and out. Estate laws and probate laws differ from state to state, and Florida and Oregon both have some weird laws in these areas.
This probably seems like a lot of trouble, but you have to remember the banks are simply trying to protect themselves and follow the law. Anyone could walk in with a death certificate (they’re public record), and claim to be an heir. So, they have to have a court document in order to avoid any potential liability.
I’m sorry for your loss, Melinda. I know it still hurts after all this time, but you need to address this as soon as possible. I’m sure it’s what your husband would have wanted.
Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough,The Total Money Makeover andEntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.
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