Who pays the debts of a deceased person?

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2020 | Probate |

There are many things that family members have to deal with when they have a loved one who passes away. One of the tasks that some individuals might need to handle is the estate of the decedent. They may be concerned about what should happen with the person’s debts.

Anyone who has lost a loved one should remember that they aren’t responsible to pay for the debt of the person who passed away unless they were a co-signer on the loans. In some cases, spouses are responsible for those debts.

Other family members shouldn’t provide any personal information if they’re approached by creditors in an effort to collect on the decedent’s debts. Instead, they should refer the creditor to the individual who’s over the estate since that’s who needs to handle these matters.

There is a chance that the creditors won’t get paid if there isn’t enough in the estate to cover the bills. The law sets a specific order that bills must be handled, so things like the estate’s taxes must be handled first. Once the top priority debts are cleared, other debts can be addressed.

Some individuals opt to use trusts to ensure that their loved ones will receive what they’re due. Some trusts provide protection from creditors, so these are commonly used. It’s imperative that anyone who is dealing with an estate that involves creditor claims understands how to handle these matters. It might behoove you to enlist the help of a professional who’s familiar with this area of the law if you’re the person charged with overseeing the estate.