Probate: Collecting Debts Out of an Estate

After the death of a loved one, the door is wide open to a number of conversations and legal problems that will involve the estate of the deceased. Probate laws deal with how a person’s property and other belongings are dispersed among family members, friends, charities, etc. Because the probate laws are not the same in every state, it is important that you are aware of the laws in your state.

When someone has a Will, the probate procedures are usually more simple because the Will specifically states the deceased’s wishes.  However, there will also be several additional factors that must be addressed after a person has passed away.  One of those factors include debt and taxes.

Before distributing all of the estate’s assets to the beneficiaries of the Estate, the executor or administrator of the estate has an obligation to notify any potential creditors of the fact that the estate has been opened.  When the creditors have been notified, then they are required to file a claim to seek to have the debt paid out of the estate.  The process for handling claims from creditors can be very complicated, and the rules vary significantly depending on whether the probate administration is “independent” or “dependent.”  In either case, the claims will be paid according to whether sufficient assets exist in the estate to pay them, and they will be paid according to the priority provided by Texas law.  For instance, funeral expenses have a higher priority for payment than credit card debts.

Whether you are the creditor trying to be paid from an estate or you are the executor of the estate trying to handle the estate debts, you should seek experienced counsel in dealing with those issues.  The attorneys at Ford + Bergner are prepared to assist you with creditor claims in probate estates.

If you need the advice of an attorney who can lead you in the right direction after a loved one has passed away, do not hesitate to contact us today.