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Are you responsible for a deceased loved one's debts?

As you work to settle the affairs of a recently deceased loved one's estate, you undoubtedly have many tasks ahead of you. You may feel uncertain about how to handle some of those duties, especially when it comes to financial aspects of the estate. Because you want to carry out your family member's final wishes to the best of your ability, you may need to gain more information on how to handle specific responsibilities.

One issue that may prove particularly confusing to address involves debt the deceased may have had at the time of his or her death. Luckily, this seemingly complicated issue may have relatively simple solutions.

Paying the debt

If your loved one did have outstanding debts, you do not have to pay those debts from your personal accounts. However, as the executor of the estate, you do have to attend to any claims creditors level against the estate. When paying those balances, you utilize funds associated with the estate. If the estate does not have enough assets to cover those debts, the creditors will likely have to accept the losses.

Your responsibility

If you had no connection with the debt, you have no responsibility to repay the debt other than what your duties as executor stipulate. This means you do not have to use personal funds to repay the debt even after estate has no funds left. However, if you co-signed a loan or jointly owned any property that still requires payments, the entirety of the remaining debt will likely fall to you.

Creditor contact

Though creditors may have to accept losses if the estate does not cover all outstanding balances, they may still try to contact you or other family members in hopes of recovering at least some of those debts. If you do not have personal association with the debt, you do not have to provide any payments on your deceased loved one's behalf.

Dealing with your loved one's outstanding debts can cause you considerable stress, especially if you do not fully understand the responsibility you may or may not hold for that debt. This aspect of the estate administration process along with handling the grief associated with your loss could cause you to become easily overwhelmed.

Luckily, you do not have to handle executor duties on your own. An experienced Florida attorney could assist you with the administration and explain how to handle your loved one's debts.

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