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Medicaid And Estate Planning Attorneys
Helping You Achieve
Peace Of Mind
Three lead attorneys at Livens & Reed, PLLC
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How debts can cause headaches during probate proceedings

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2024 | Probate Litigation |

Probate proceedings require a lot of hard work and attention to detail. The personal representative of an estate has to locate and value someone’s resources. They have to secure at-risk assets and maintain the property until they can distribute it or liquidate it according to the estate plan.

They also need to attend probate proceedings and follow not just state probate laws but also the instructions of the testator. No matter how organized and studious someone is, the potential for mistakes and oversights is a real concern.

There are certain types of liabilities that can pass to the personal representative if they do not manage the estate properly. Personal debts owed by the decedents are an issue that could have a major impact on probate proceedings. Properly addressing financial obligations can be one of the most challenging aspects of estate administration.

What is the process for handling debts?

A personal representative usually begins receiving and reviewing someone’s mail after their death. They also go over financial records and any relevant legal paperwork. Doing so gives them insight into the decedent’s financial circumstances. They identify known creditors and send them notice about estate administration. They typically need to publish notice about the probate proceedings in the local newspaper of record.

Following the right process is crucial for the representative, as it helps limit their risk of personal liability. Creditors communicate with the personal representative and file claims in probate court. The claims that they make require repayment using estate resources. Paying those claims usually occurs before beneficiaries receive any inheritance from the estate.

In some cases, the debts that the decedent owed are so significant that there won’t be any money left for their loved ones to inherit. In those scenarios, it is of the utmost importance for personal representatives to ensure they pay the debts in the right order of priority.

Small mistakes can lead to personal liability for debts that a personal representative might otherwise not need to pay. Thankfully, they can count on receiving assistance. The estate can pay for an attorney to advise the personal representative and guide them throughout the probate process. Ultimately, learning more about common probate complications can benefit anyone involved in estate administration. Debts are one of many complicating factors that can make the probate process more stressful.

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