Probate is the time to handle a decedent's debts

The executor of an Ohio estate has many responsibilities to address. Often, individuals who take on this role have no formal legal or financial training, and while having those skills can certainly come in handy, not having them could result in executors needing assistance when it comes to handling probate. In particular, they may wonder how to handle the decedent's debts.

Debts are something that the executor must address when closing an estate. However, the manner in which those debts are handled can depend on the circumstances. For example, if a person had taken out a loan before his or her passing but had a co-signer on the loan, that remaining balance will likely pass on to the co-signer to handle.

If debts remain that do not have any joint liability, creditors may attempt to gain assets from the estate in order to cover outstanding balances. In some cases, the estate may have enough funds to cover all remaining debt, but often, that is not the case. When this happens, the executor will need to handle debts in order of priority. This does not necessarily mean that an estate and its beneficiaries will be left with nothing as some assets, such as retirement funds, are payable on death and can pass directly to named beneficiaries rather than going through probate.

Debts are just one part of the probate process that executors will need to address correctly. It can certainly be confusing at times, but fortunately, Ohio residents working to close their loved ones' estates do not have to do so alone. They can enlist the help of attorneys experienced in this area of law who could guide them through the process.

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