Estate Planning Services: Who Inherits My Debt?

Estate Planning Lawyer Sarasota

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One of the biggest myths associated with estate planning services is that debt attached to your estate will be passed down to your heirs. Fortunately, this is not true, and while a will is in probate, the judge will ensure that the executor of your estate follows the correct order for payees according to Florida law.

Estate planning services can help you lessen the burden of settling your financial affairs before death, or spell out a detailed plan for your executor to follow that will make the process easy and smooth. One thing you need to consider doing before putting properties into trusts or gifting property to your spouse is to pay off any remaining unpaid debts, including medical, credit, or other. Any of your creditors who are left unpaid at the time of your death will be the first ones to be able to obtain financial assets from your estate legally.

Creditors cannot just pop up and make a claim against your estate at any time, however. With Estate Planning Service, most states require anyone you owe a debt to come forward within 90 days maximum to make a claim. The probate court will determine the validity of the debt, and the executor will be responsible for making the financial transfer from the estate to the creditor. This process continues until the estate debts are paid, or the estate has no more money. The executor is responsible for ensuring that all debts are paid in full before any leftover monies are distributed to heirs.

When there isn’t enough cash on hand to pay debts, the courts may require the sale of physical assets such as cars, homes, or land that is attached to the estate. Jewelry, art, and collectibles can also be sent to auction or sold to pay off debts of the estate.

There are a few instances where an heir will need to pay a debt, however, including if the heir cosigned on anything for the deceased or if there are any joint accounts such as mortgages, car loans, personal loans, checking accounts, and credit cards held jointly.

If you need help determining the worth of your estate and debts, contact the Law Offices of Kimberly K. Muenter for estate planning services at 941-254-2842.