The death of a loved one can be a difficult time, with so much to think about. As well as grief, you may also need to think about probate, which is the legal right to deal with someone’s property, money and possessions when they die. Here, we will look into probate and how to pay off the debts of an estate.
After death, debts must be dealt with by the executor(s) of the will, not necessarily by the beneficiaries. Outstanding debts must be paid off before taking the next steps in distributing the estate to any inheritors. It is essential that, as the executor, you understand clearly what kind of debt is outstanding.
How To Pay Off Debts
Paying off debts may vary depending on the size of the debt versus the worth of the estate. If there is an individual debt in the name of the deceased, such as a utility bill, then this can be paid off using the assets of the estate. However, there are some situations where even individual debts are too great to be covered by the estate - and in this case, it will be written off.
What About Joint Debts?
In the case of joint debts, these will not be passed to the executor to deal with - rather, they become the responsibly of the surviving person.
How To Handle Creditors
When it comes to creditors, you will need to place a notice informing them of the death that has occurred. This empowers them to make a claim against the estate and ensures that all debts are settled.
When To Apply For Probate
You will not need to apply for probate in every situation. You will need to apply for probate if there is no will, if you encounter issues with the existing will, or if there are no beneficiaries. However, you will not need to apply for probate if you are the joint owner of land, property, shares or money. This will be automatically passed on to the surviving person.
When dealing with the outstanding debts of a deceased person, every situation is completely unique. Seeking professional help from experts is your best option for knowing exactly what to do - get in touch with Bowsers Solicitors for advice on outstanding debts and whether they are your responsibility or not.
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