Addressing your loved one during probate

On Behalf of | Jan 7, 2019 | Probate

After the death of a loved one, surviving family members and other people that were close the the person need time to grieve and otherwise emotionally process the event. However, other actions also need taking in order to ensure that the executor or other party in charge properly handles the person’s final affairs.

If your loved one named you as executor of the estate, you likely already know that you need to address various responsibilities. One aspect you may need more information on relates to addressing your loved one’s remaining debts. These liabilities need handling after your loved one’s passing, but the manner in which you address them depends on the type of debt.

Identifying liabilities

In order to understand the debts you will need to address, you may want to take the time to identify any liabilities your loved one had and make a list. The list many include items such as the following:

  • Utility bills
  • Income taxes
  • Credit card bills
  • Lines of credit
  • Personal loans
  • Property taxes
  • Mortgages
  • Car loans
  • Cell phone bills

This list contains only a few examples of outstanding debts you may need to handle. After identifying the debts, you may then want to categorize them as either administrative expenses or as final bills.


A difference between administrative expenses and final bills is that the administrative expenses will need paying throughout the probate process and the final bills will not. Instead, you will pay the final bills in their entireties after the probate proceedings begin. Differences also exist in that administrative expenses will need to stay up-to-date until the probate process begins. These expenses may include:

  • Mortgages
  • Property taxes
  • Utility bills
  • Storage fees

Other expenses may also fall into this category. Typically, beneficiaries will keep up the payments, if possible, until the probate process begins. After probate starts, you, as the executor, will utilize estate funds to reimburse the beneficiaries who kept up the payments and then take over the payments for the duration of the probate proceedings.

Getting it right

Understandably, you may feel worried that you will make a mistake when it comes to handling your loved ones debts. It can certainly feel complicated to manage someone’s finances other than your own. Fortunately, your legal counsel can help you with this aspect of probate and throughout the entirety of the process, including explaining how California state law may influence the proceedings.



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