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Father died with considerable medical debt

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? Ohio

My father passed away earlier this year from cancer. During his years of treatment he accrued a significant amount of debt. He left his girlfriend as the executor of the will. The lawyer she has been to has said that the creditors need to decide whether they are going to place a claim against his estate (which consists of an uninhabitable house and a small piece of land). There is some uncertainty as to what the creditors will do because the estate will not be worth enough to pay off the debt (although they may want to get whatever they can). The most pressing issue for me is that I cannot afford a lawyer to represent the estate and neither can the executor. I know the lawyer is typically paid from the estate, but if the estate is likely to be spent on reimbursing debtors, how will the lawyer get his money? Can he take his money off the top before the rest of the creditors get their money? I would like to proceed without a lawyer, but I'm not sure how to go about that either (and I live in a different state, so I can't just pop into the courthouse). Also, the lawyer has indicated that we really can't do much until the creditors come forward with their claim. The lawyer also said the judge will need to know what we plan to do with the house, but I feel like this is an irrevelant point. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Senior Member
The girlfriend needs to start probate and be named as the personal representative. then she needs to sell the house for whatever it will bring. Claims against the estate are paid in the order determined by state law. Usually the undertaker and the lawyer get theirs first.

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