How to manage creditor claims against an estate

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2024 | Probate And Estate Administration |

When someone passes away, that person’s estate becomes responsible for settling any existing debts. For executors, the people in charge of squaring away the deceased’s affairs, handling creditor claims is an important aspect of their duties.

This task can seem daunting, but a bit of foreknowledge makes the job more manageable. With a savvy approach, one may resolve the matter efficiently and effectively.

Notify creditors of the death

The first step is to inform creditors about the individual’s passing. One way to do this is by sending a copy of the death certificate to every relevant lender. Some executors also publish a notice in local newspapers so that the news can reach those the executor does not even know about.

Review claims carefully

Once creditors receive word of the death, they may file claims against the estate to recover what the deceased owes. The executor must review these demands with a fine-toothed comb, as not all demands for payment may be valid or enforceable. One must check the amounts, ensure they are accurate and verify that the debts are legitimate.

Prioritize claims according to the law

Laws vary by location, but they generally dictate a specific order for paying debts from an estate. For example, final expenses and taxes often have priority over credit card balances. Understanding this protocol is integral to managing an estate’s limited resources appropriately.

Pay debts from the estate

Finally, the executor can satisfy the debts. This might involve selling property or other assets to raise the necessary funds. Executors must handle this process fairly and according to the law to prevent legal issues.

Executors are responsible for ensuring that estates are in order and debts no longer exist. It takes someone with integrity and superior organizational skills to complete the assignment with grace and minimal fuss.