Generally, the decedents debts do not disappear when the pass away. The assigned personal representative has several duties regarding the debt of the decedent, which vary in detail.
What kinds of debt need to be paid?
Debts that existed prior to the decedents passing, and debts claimed during the process of administration.
How do I know what debts exist?
The Register of Wills is required to run a notice of appointment in a newspaper of general circulation in the county of appointment once a week for three weeks. The notice states that creditors have six months from the date of death to present a claim against the decedent.
What are the duties of a Personal Representative?
The personal representative must make a reasonably diligent effort to contact the decedent’s creditors and then mail or deliver a notice of the time when their claims may be filed.
What about claims that exceed the amount of the estate?
There are a number of expenses that must be paid by the personal representative based on the assets available to the estate. If the estate is sufficient to pay the entirety of the debts in full, the following information may not apply.
There is a specific suggested priority order that the debts/claims should be paid in, and deviating from that priority could cause serious issues.
- Fees due to the Register of Wills;
- Costs and expenses of administration;
- Funeral expenses;
- Compensation of personal representative, legal services, and commissions of licensed real estate brokers;
- Family allowance;
- Back taxes that are due by the decedent;
- Hospital, medical, and nursing expenses of the last illness of the decedent;
- Rent payable by the decedent for no more than three months prior;
- Wages, salaries, or commission for services performed for the decedent within three months prior to the death of the decedent;
- Assistance paid under the Public Assistance to Adults Program;
- All other Claims.