Losing a loved one is never easy. Yet, things can become even more challenging if you’ve been named as a personal representative for your loved one’s estate. Sure, handling an estate means overseeing the distribution of assets, but there’s a lot more involved than just that. In fact, you might find yourself quickly overwhelmed by the number of tasks at hand, which includes dealing with your lost loved one’s debt.
In many circumstances, during the probate process, the estate’s personal representative is required to provide notice to creditors, although this isn’t always the rule. This notice is published in a newspaper of general circulation for a specified number of times, and it must include certain information such as the personal representative’s contact information. However, in addition to publication, you might also have to provide written notice to known creditors.
Once receiving notice of the individual’s passing, creditors have six months to present their claims. They can do so by making the claim in writing to the personal representative, which is sometimes also filed with the probate court, or mailing the notice to the deceased individual so long as that notice is received by the personal representative. If you don’t provide notice to creditors, then they may end up with more time to present their claims.
Creditors are generally paid according to their priority. That means that if the debt is backed by collateral, then that creditor will likely be paid first. It’s important to note that these creditors still have the ability to foreclose and repossess property, so it’s best if you are able to remain in communication with creditors and make arrangements for payments that protect the estate as fully as possible.
Don’t get tangled in the web of probate administration
Estate administration can be a lot more complex than you realize, as this is a very general overview of how creditors are dealt with during the probate process. That’s why it might be best to work with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure that you’re doing everything you’re supposed to under the law.