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3 things to know about debts after death

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2023 | Probate

People who are dealing with the death of a loved one have many things to think about. This includes making the final arrangements and handling the estate plans. 

One of the concerns of the decedent’s loved ones is what happens to the debts of that person once they’re gone. They must know exactly how these points are handled. 

1. Debts are paid from the estate

Debt collectors need to file their claims with the estate if they want to be paid. These are handled in a specific order that’s established by law. Once the debts are taken care of, anything remaining in the estate can be distributed. If debts are larger than the estate, whatever debts remain won’t be paid.

2. Irrevocable trusts are safe from decedent debts

While certain assets can be used to pay debts, those that are in irrevocable trusts can’t be touched because they aren’t technically part of the estate.  Once the individual creates the trust and funds it, they don’t have control over the assets any longer. 

3. Loved ones aren’t responsible

Except for jointly owned debts, loved ones aren’t required to cover the decedent’s bills. Some unscrupulous debt collectors may contact the family members to try to scare them into paying, but those individuals shouldn’t ever pay. Instead, they can direct the debt collector to the estate administrator. 

Getting an estate plan in place is critical for all adults. Once the person passes away, the estate plan must be handled in accordance with the law. Working with someone who understands these matters is critical to minimize stress and ensure wishes are properly relayed.