Does an estate executor have to pay debts?

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2022 | Probate

When a person writes a will, that is the beginning of their estate plan. The estate executor is the person who is actually going to make sure that this will is followed.

This individual has a lot of different duties and responsibilities after their loved one passes away. In fact, one of the obligations that they have is to “make sure that any debts and creditors that the deceased had are paid off.”

If you find out that you have been named as the estate executor, you may find this a bit concerning. What if you discover that the person had a lot of debt? You can contact the creditors and start the process, but what if there’s no way to pay them? Does this mean you have to do it just because the other person chose you as the estate executor?

You use the funds from the estate

There’s good news: You are supposed to pay off the debts, but you use money from the estate to do it. You do not have to use your own money, and you are not obligated to make sure that the debts are completely paid off if the money to do so does not exist within the state. 

Your job is simply to inventory what assets the person has and then to use those assets to pay taxes or debts as far as you can. If the estate is unable to completely eliminate the debt, that does not mean that it falls on you except in a rare case where you are a co-signer or something of this nature.

This is just one thing that you’re going to have to deal with in the role of an estate executor, and it’s very important to understand all of your obligations and the legal options at your disposal during the probate process.

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rated by super lawyers kimberly D. Neilson Selected in 2015 thomson reuters