Probate proceedings require a lot of organization. You have to track down all of the deceased person’s property and notify all of their creditors and the companies that they have accounts with about their death.
You will then have to settle their accounts as part of the probate process. People often die with thousands of dollars in debt, leading their executors to wonder how much they actually have to diminish the assets of the estate before they can distribute them to the beneficiaries.
Which debts require repayment with assets from the estate?
You have to continue paying that until there is nothing left of the estate
You should repay all debts that the estate can afford. If it seems like the total amount owed in debt, such as medical debt and credit card balances, exceeds the total value of the estate, that might mean that there is no inheritance for people in the family.
If there are co-signers to certain debts, those people will be responsible for repaying any amount that the deceased party’s estate cannot cover. If there are no co-signers for the various debts, then the responsibility to repay them effectively ends when the estate’s assets are exhausted.
Making sure that you notify creditors, that you repay debts in the proper order of priority and that you retain sufficient funds for other obligations, like probate court costs and taxes, will be of the utmost importance during probate. As an executor, creditors could potentially hold you responsible if they don’t receive repayment but you distribute assets to beneficiaries of the estate.
Learning more about your obligations during the probate process will help protect you as the executor while upholding the last wishes of the testator.