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Take care handling debt in probate

On Behalf of | Aug 28, 2023 | Probate |

A loved one’s passing can leave you with a mess of emotions. It may also leave you with a lot of uncertainty, especially if you are managing your loved one’s California estate as a personal representative.

One issue that can lead to a lot of questions is the matter of paying off your loved one’s debts. Debt in and of itself is a stressful thing to manage. Here are some important details to know about this particular aspect of probate.

The estate generally pays debts

Usually, the payment of your loved one’s remaining debts comes from your loved one’s estate. You will have to arrange the actual payment, but the finances will come from the estate of the deceased, not your pockets.

Of course, there are certain cases where a living person may be responsible for paying the debt, such as if it was a joint loan or joint credit card. The individual on a joint account should inform the creditor about the passing of your loved one, but then they will be liable for paying the debt from now on.

Make sure any claims are legitimate

Scammers prey on the vulnerable. Probate can be a confusing process on top of immense grief – which makes it a common target for scammers. Therefore, there are a few risks you should watch for, including:

  • Debt scavengers, trying to collect on a debt that is no longer effective or belonged to someone else
  • Collectors who falsely claim your loved one owed them a debt
  • Friends or family members who come forward with “verbal agreements” for payments

It’s important to handle every claim and creditor carefully. Look at all the information regarding the debt, and consider seeking legal guidance before taking any action.

Do not overlook anything

One of the reasons probate is so stressful is that there is no room for mistakes. If you make any errors, it could result in serious challenges and legal claims after the fact.

This is another reason why it is often beneficial to seek legal help during probate. A legal professional can help you avoid any of these future issues while managing current challenges effectively.