In many cases, a person still has outstanding bills when they pass away. These could be very complex, such as business loans that someone took out before an unexpected heart attack. But they could also be very minor bills, such as the utility costs for an elderly person who passed away expectedly, but who lived at home until they did so.
People often do plan ahead to take care of bigger costs, but who has to pay these outstanding bills? Who has to mail those final checks to the mortgage company or the IRS for the year’s taxes?
The estate administrator
This is a job that should be done by the estate administrator, or the estate executor. Both terms refer to the same individual, and they’re the person who is named in the estate plan. Their job is to ensure that estate plan is actually followed by gathering assets, distributing them, passing out copies of the will, and paying any bills that remain – among much else.
That being said, the estate executor should not be worried that they’re going to have to pay this out of their personal accounts or that they are somehow financially liable. They just have to use the money from the estate to pay off the bills. If there’s not enough money in that estate, this could mean that the heirs and beneficiaries are not going to inherit what they thought they would, but it doesn’t mean that those heirs need to come up with the rest of the money.
The financial side of probate can often be complicated and there are many different steps that need to be taken. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to know exactly how this works and what options they have.