Q: If I paid for my car with cash and I owe no money on it, can the state take it to pay my credit card debts when I die? I have credit card and student loan debt.
A: If you died and an estate was opened, all of your debts would become debts of the estate and would be paid in an order which favors certain debts over others. Funeral expenses, administration costs, attorney’s fees, certain medical bills and inheritance tax and income taxes are given preference. Unsecured creditors are then paid with what is left. If there is money remaining after all expenses are paid, then the heirs are paid. Your car loan is an unsecured debt. The lender would need to file a claim with the court. If there was money remaining to pay, the lender would be paid. As for your student loan, if you die before it is paid, the balance is forgiven.