The probate process can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you have never handled an estate before. There are all kinds of obligations for an executor, including notifying family members and filing paperwork with the probate court. Handling the financial responsibilities of the deceased individual is also crucial.
Typically, an executor has an obligation to repay debts when they manage an estate. In some cases, they could become personally responsible for unpaid debts if they distribute property from the estate to heirs before paying off accounts and taxes owed. What debts do you have to repay before you can start to distribute assets to the beneficiaries of the estate?
The estate is liable for all personal debts
When someone dies, their debts don’t just disappear. Their estate has an obligation to repay creditors before any property goes out to family members for other beneficiaries. Executors may have to sell some of the property from the estate in order to repay all of the debt.
In some cases, debt may consume all of the property left behind by someone. Other times, there could be residual debt even after someone liquidates all of the assets in the estate. Provided that you are not a cosigner and that the deceased party is the only one who took on the debt, the obligation to repay those amounts ends when the estate runs out of assets.
It is important to make sure that you prioritize certain debts, like tax debts, above others. Getting help from an estate planning attorney with probate can make it easier for you to handle all of the financial responsibilities that come with being an executor.