Who is responsible for the debt after death? Many people fear they will be responsible for a loved one’s debts, but we’re here to clear up the confusion. Here’s what happens to a decedent’s debt and what you need to do.
Do Debts Die When a Person Does?
Debt does not go away when a person dies. Their debt needs paying, but relatives and loved ones are not responsible for that debt. The debt must come out of the deceased’s estate. The only time someone other than the deceased is responsible for the debt is if they have co-signed on a loan or other obligation, if the law requires the spouse to pay certain debts, or if they are legally responsible for the debt. The estate pays any debts after death unless there aren’t enough funds, and then they may be unpaid.
Who Pays the Debt?
The executor of a person’s estate is responsible for managing debt payments. If the will names an executor, that person settles the affairs of the person who died. If there is no will, the probate courts assign an administrator. Creditors can present claims to the executor or administrator within eight months of the notification of the person’s death.
What Should You Do?
When a loved one dies, the best course of action is to contact a probate attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you work through any disputes with creditors and the deceased’s assets, navigate the probate process, and manage the administration of your loved one’s will and estate.
The last thing you want to do when a family member dies is manage the business of their debt after death. Contact the experienced legal team at McCutchen McLean, LLC,
for the compassionate help you need in the process.