Three Things to Know If You Are the Executor of an Estate That Has Debt

You are the administrator of a loved one’s estate and you have just learned that there are multiple creditors who claim that the estate owes them money. You want to protect your loved one’s assets, but you may not be sure what to do now.

The Law Tells You How to Pay Debts Owed by the Estate

As the executor or administrator of the estate, you need to know what to do next. Specifically, you need to know about:

  • Your obligations. It is not your responsibility to pay the estate debts from your own personal accounts unless you were a co-signor on the loan or you fail to make a payment ordered by the court. Instead, it is your responsibility to pay the debts from the assets of the estate.
  • The priority in which the debts should be paid. California regulations provide that debts owed by an estate should be paid in a specific order. It is not up to you to decide which creditor gets paid first and it is not the loudest creditor who is entitled to the first payment.
  • When to pay debts. Generally, debts should be paid when the probate court orders you to do so and in the manner that the probate court orders you to do so.

Many personal representatives of California estates have questions. It can be difficult to know how to distribute the assets of an estate fairly when there are multiple creditors and beneficiaries involved.

It is not your job to know all of the answers as soon as you are appointed as administrator, but it is your responsibility to find out the answers so that you can do your job correctly. To find out more about what to do if you are working on an estate that owes debt, please read the articles in our related link box and start a free chat with us today.

 

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm