Law Offices of Roshni T. Desai
Long-term Planning For Orange County

Dealing with debt: What executors should know

Death can be expected and planned for, or a sudden surprise leaving loved ones struggling with the deceased’s financial affairs. Whatever the case may be, there are often a number of financial issues that may arise once a loved one passes. As an estate executor, you may have been named in the will or appointed by a court to oversee affairs involving the estate. You are responsible for ensuring any remaining debts and expenses owed by the deceased are repaid using the value of the estate. While it is critical that some expenses must be paid, there are others that you are not required to pay at all.

Credit card debt is often absolved once the card account holder has passed. If the deceased is the only person listed on the credit card account, there is no obligation for anyone else to make payments on the remaining balance. There are some exceptions where spouses may be liable for credit card debt of a deceased spouse if they reside in a community property state. Property taxes and income taxes, on the other hand, must be paid. You, as the estate executor, can pay for them and later be reimbursed by the estate or wait for the valuation of the estate and pay the taxes with that money.

Other types of debt include mortgages, student loans, personal loans, life insurance policy loans, retirement loans and storage fees. It is up to your discretion to determine which are important to repay immediately, which can wait until the estate settlement and which will not be repaid.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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