How debts are handled in probate


When a person dies in Florida, there are many issues for heirs to address. Among these is the handling of the deceased person’s estate. How exactly this happens depends in part upon whether or not the person had a will, a trust or other form of estate planning already determined. In many cases, even those with wills or living wills, probate becomes part of the process.

Contrary to what many people may believe, probating a will is not simply a matter of identifying which heir or beneficiary receives which item or how much money. Attention must also be given to the payment of debts that may likely still be active. According to Forbes, outstanding debts can be one of the most surprising estate complexities for people to sort through in the wake of a death. Loan balances, unpaid taxes and more must all be addressed–before the distribution of assets to beneficiaries.

Among the unique probate issues related to any debt of a deceased person includes those debts for which the decedent was a co-signer. Even if the primary debt holder is still alive, the debt could be declared in default or payable in full immediately once the co-signer has died. The Huffington Post notes that the value of some estates may not be sufficient to pay all of the debts owed. When this happens, courts must mediate creditors’ requests to determine how much money will be paid to each creditor.

These are just some of the legal issues that can arise related to estate administration. People named as an executor of a will should become educated in how to approach these situations.

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