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Paying off debt during the estate administration process

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2023 | Probate |

One of the most complicated matters to address after the death of a loved one is dealing with his or her estate. It can be difficult to both grieve your loss while also adeptly navigating the process of handling the decedent’s remaining assets and eventually distributing property according to the terms of his or her will. The estate administration process can be complicated, confusing and difficult to navigate on your own.

It is helpful to know what you can expect from the estate administration process before you proceed. This is important whether you are simply an interested party, such as an heir or beneficiary, or you are appointed to act as the executor of the estate. One critical part of the estate administration process is paying off remaining debts and settling accounts with all creditors.

How to pay off your loved one’s debt

When someone passes away, you cannot simply take his or her property and distribute it as you wish or according to the terms of the will. There are legal and financial requirements that must first be met, starting with filing the will with the probate court, locating assets and notifying creditors. A majority of Americans will die with debt, and the estate is responsible for settling these balances before the estate can be closed. In many cases, assets from the estate may be used to pay off remaining debts.

There are certain types of debts that loved ones may, unfortunately, inherit after the death of a family member. These debts include any balance on which a loved one is a joint account holder, co-signed loans, family members who don’t follow probate laws and spouses who reside in community property states. If a person dies with more debt than assets, the estate is considered insolvent, which means that heirs and beneficiaries may not be responsible for paying debt, but they will likely not receive an inheritance.

Assistance for the estate administration process

A Tennessee family does not have to navigate the estate administration process alone. There is a significant benefit to have assistance from a knowledgeable professional at every step of this process. This can reduce the chance of complications, provide guidance regarding the repayment of debt and allow heirs and beneficiaries to move forward with confidence.