My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: MD
I'm in a quite conundrum, so please forgive the length. I am the administrator for my deceased mother's small estate, who passed away in 2010 without a will. I was informed by the Register of Wills office, upon becoming administrator, that all creditors had 6 months following her death to file claims, in writing, against the estate, or 2 months if I informed them directly of the existence of the estate. Wells Fargo, the lien holder for her car, did not submit a written claim against the estate to me within 6 months. I also mailed them a copy of the official estate notice, and they missed the 2 month deadline likewise. Since they never made a claim for the remainder of the loan balance within the legally allotted time, the estate has no obligation to the loan and they were barred from collecting.
Despite their refusal to go through proper, legal channels, I contacted them, via phone, in February 2011, three months AFTER their right to claim passed, in order to arrange repossession of the car since their right to collect on the loan was forfeited. At that time a nasty customer service agent didn't have a clue what I was talking about, had no record of my estate information, and dismissed me. I left the estate information with that representative, and asked to speak to a manager. The manager give me another number in the division to call. I called that division three times, and no one ever picked up. I called the manager back and she said there was nothing she could do for me. Wells Fargo, to this very day, has not sent one written request to the estate asking for payment of the car loan. Likewise I have received no written requests regarding potential repossession.
In the meantime the car was left with my brother in MD every since her passing two years ago, as I live hundreds of miles away in NY. I do not drive the car, but he use to. I implored him several times to turn the car into the dealership where it was purchased, but he refused. So my hands felt tied, and I moved on, figuring Wells Fargo would eventually follow the proper channels and send me a written notice asking for either the balance (which they are no longer entitled to), or the car. Hasn't happened.
To make matters even more complicated, my brother notified me earlier today that the car has been in a wreck. It was at no fault of his, as the car was parked in front of his residence and the driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into the car. The driver is insured, and they will be contacting me next week in regards to either paying for damages, or marking the car as "totaled" and paying out the current market value (the car had a value of about 8-9k). Now I am truly stuck between a rock and a hard place. I'll have to contact Wells Fargo likely to tell them the car was totaled. Who, then, is liable? The estate is insolvent, and has been for years now; it was a small estate with less than 3k worth of assets, all of which have been distributed years ago. And since Wells Fargo never came for the car, and ignored all my efforts to arrange for them to have it, how much responsibility do I have at this point?
I have no idea if the loan check goes to Wells Fargo? To me? If they've written off the debt and sold the lien to collections? It's all a big mess! Any insight at all into this situation is deeply appreciated.