Man Tries to Sell Will on eBay

image A guy on eBay, inspired by the forehead advertising auction, attempted to sell his will. The winner of the auction would, upon his death, receive everything he owns. Since the seller is a young guy, the winner could be waiting for a while before they get anything. Two other things occurred to me. First, if the guy dies heavily in debt, all you're going to inherit is a bunch of bills. He fails to mention this possibility (and he would have an incentive to die in debt). Second, I'm not sure how you would make this arrangement legally binding. Perhaps it can be done. I'm not sure. But it seems possible that the guy could change his will later and create a difficult situation. I've heard of universities that arrange for people to will their estates to them, and in return the university gives them a certain amount of money until they die. But that seems different from what this eBay guy is proposing (and probably involves better lawyers). Anyway, the auction closed yesterday with no bidders, so I guess it's all a moot point.

Death eBay

Posted on Sun Feb 20, 2005

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Debt can't be willed. If a person dies in debt, his survivors can't be dunned for payment.

In the case of real estate, If man has a house with a mortgage and leaves it in his will to his son, his son has two options;

1) Assume the loan and take posession of the property (that is if he CAN assume the loan. The bank may require that he (the son)re-finance because of his credit or ability to pay. Also this assumes that the "due on sale" clause isn't triggered by the change of title)

Or 2) The son can call the bank and say "come get your house".

In case 2, lets say the house is only worth $100,000 because of a drop in home values, yet the owner owes $150,000. The bank may NOT dunn the son for the difference.

The real likelyhood is that he would gift all of his wealth to his children when he was old, and thereby die with nothing to will.
Posted by JoeSixpack  on  Sun Feb 20, 2005  at  12:20 PM
Joe, I don't think it's quite accurate to say that debt can't be willed. Otherwise, by the same logic, you could say that money can't be willed.

As you explain in the rest of your post, you can't force an inheritance on anyone. The person always has a choice whether to accept or reject a bequest. But if you accept it, you have to accept it debt and all. You can't just accept the money, but not the debt. Therefore debt can be willed, in the same way that money can be willed.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Sun Feb 20, 2005  at  12:33 PM
I guess I oversimplified it with the real estate example. The only calim creditors can make is against the estate, not the survivors. If someone willed you more liabilities then assets, then they willed you $0.00 I don't see that as leaving you debt, unless there is some asset that you want so badly that you will pay the creditors for it. But that's just buying something from the creditors.

If it were just debt (your credit card bills, for example) without any assets, his willing it to you is only subject, as you say, to your acceptance.
Posted by JoeSixpack  on  Sun Feb 20, 2005  at  12:44 PM
I don't know about the US, but you definitely can't inherit debts in teh UK. If you're jointly responsible with the deceased for them you become solely liable, and if you leave say a daughter
Posted by Beth  on  Sun Feb 20, 2005  at  05:10 PM
I like how he shows pictures of himself on a motorcycle and smoking.
Posted by Glamcat  on  Sun Feb 20, 2005  at  06:25 PM
My MIL died of FIL was not responsible for her hospital bills. When she was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago...they switched a lot of credit cards into her name...and they set up 2 banking accounts. She would cash her check & then deposit just enough to pay the bills in her name, then withdrawl the rest & FIL would put it into his account. So when she cards were hers, her bank account was empty, and hospital bills were hers. She had no assets. She did not have a will, but my FIL gave all of her jewelry to my daughter (weird...she wasn't even born yet), and a diamond ring to my husband (which he used to propose to me). So...that's how that worked out.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Mon Feb 21, 2005  at  09:32 AM
Maegan, I didn't think that married couples could divide up their income like that. I thought the state looks upon it all as joint income. At least for tax purposes. And if they weren't married, then wouldn't your FIL have to record all the money your MIL gave to him as income (if it went above the level of what's considered a gift)? It just seems like everyone would be doing schemes like that if it was actually possible to do.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Mon Feb 21, 2005  at  10:36 AM
Alex, I believe there are separate laws involving inheritence. It's not treated as regular income or as a gift. There are inheritence taxes, but it's not the same as income.
Posted by Glamcat  on  Mon Feb 21, 2005  at  12:55 PM
What Maegan described would not work in a joint-property. I forget the exact legal term, but Arizona is such a state and all income and property belong to both parties in a marriage, even assets from before the marriage if I remember right. Not being married I haven't examined the subject in any depth. There are some states where the only joint property is what the couple makes joint and everything else belongs soley to one or the other. And you can will any property to someone who does not exist at the time of the will but may exist later. I have heard of people willing their estate to "the first legitimate grandchild born" using the legal definition to cut out a child who was born outside of marriage. Life insurance gets around the debt aspect also. If the life insurance pays to a specific person/organization the estate has no claim and the policy cannot be used to satisfy the debts.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Mon Feb 21, 2005  at  07:22 PM
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