Debt after Death in an Estate

When a person dies, the person in charge of his or her estate is known as the executor of will. executor responsibilities include actions such as paying off the deceased person’s debt. Several hurdles can make this a difficult process for the executor. Not only can it be incredibly challenging to come to terms with a loved one’s passing, but also even more sadness can be brought on by handling his or her financial conundrums. While notifying the deceased person’s creditors that he or she has passed may seem like nothing at all, it could prove to be difficult.

  • What if a creditor presents a claim that you were told was already paid?
  • What if you are presented with a claim after their designated time period has come and gone?

Maybe the person who passed away did not prepare for his or her passing and there is not enough money in the estate to pay off the debts. All of these questions and problems can be hard to overcome. Below, you will find the situations that the executor will have to go through as the selected person in charge of the estate. 

Notifying Creditors

A notice to the deceased person’s creditors is required when a legal will is submitted into probate. This notification should be placed in several local papers.

Four months are provided, to the creditors, to present their claims. The creditors will be barred forever, if they fail to present their claims in time. In addition, creditors are given a year from the deceased individual’s death to present their claims. This only is applicable if the notification was published in an obituary in newspaper and the debt could have been easily found.

Paying Debts after Death

Upon presentation, claims must be paid. Typically, the deceased individual will have a certain amount of money to pay off whatever debts he or she might have. A special checking account, in the estate’s name, should be used to pay off these claims.

Liquidating assets can be sold, if there is not enough cash in the estate to pay off all of the debts owed by the deceased. Liquidating assets can include a house or car. This can happen even if certain amounts that were to be left to beneficiaries have to be reduced. Attorney fees, and other debts, are given priority. Until these priority debts have been paid, no other debts can be paid off.