Can a creditor collect after someone passes away?

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2021 | Probate And Estate Administration |

When a loved one passes away in Pennsylvania their loved ones are often left behind to settle their estate. This can be a long and arduous process with many complications that need to be worked through. One issue that may need to be resolved is how to deal with the decedent’s creditors.

When a person dies, their debts don’t just go away. There is still an obligation to pay any outstanding bills. If an estate executor has notice of a creditor, they are expected to pay them.

In Pennsylvania a creditor has one-year to make a claim against the estate. The estate is legally required to notify the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services of the death and advertise the estate in two local papers.

Assets that cannot be touched by creditors

There are a few classes of property that cannot be counted as assets to pay off debts. These include annuities, Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and life insurance policies.

Once one year has passed from the date of death an estate executor can distribute the assets of the estate and not be liable for the debt. Even if the decedent left a well-written will, there can still be details that are complicated for the family. An attorney can help the family understand the state and federal laws that apply for probate rules. They can guide their client through this complicated time and make sure the estate is settled in a fair and legal manner.