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Executors may need assistance dealing with decedents' debts

After facing the loss of a dear loved one, many California residents may simply wish to have time to deal with their feelings. However, executors may not have the ability to close themselves away as they will need to contend with many tasks in order to properly close the estates left behind. In particular, decedents' debts will need addressing, and some individuals may find this step confusing.

First of all, though deceased parties may have outstanding balances, the executors are not personally responsible for the debts in terms of using their own funds to make sure all balances are covered. Money from the estate should be used in order to pay creditors. However, there may be instances in which estates do not have enough remaining funds to address all the debts.

When this type of scenario comes about, individuals should first prioritize the debts then pay them proportionally as necessary. Federal and state laws can offer guidance as to which debts may need to be paid before others, such as taxes. If a certain category, such as medical debts, cannot be completely covered due to a lack of funds, the creditors in that category may receive a proportionate reimbursement.

Executors are often in charge of sorting through the remnants of individuals' lives, and this role can often prove stressful. If California residents who have been placed in this position feel uncertain about how to address certain tasks, they may wish to gain reliable information. Speaking with knowledgeable probate attorneys could help interested parties ensure that they carry out their duties to the best of their abilities and in accordance with the law.

Source:, "How to pay off dead spouse's debt", Karin Price Mueller, Jan. 24, 2018

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