One of the duties of the estate administrator is paying the estate’s debts. Surviving family members should know that they aren’t responsible to pay the debts of their loved one as long as they weren’t a responsible person on the account.
There is a specific order that the estate must pay off debts. If the estate is unable to cover all the bills, the ones that aren’t able to get paid won’t be able to try to collect from family members. Many people worry that their debts will completely wipe out their estate and leave nothing to their family members. This is a tragedy that can often be prevented with estate planning.
The person who serves as administrator should understand how debts must be handled. If any family members get demands for payment on the decedent’s bills, the creditor should be given the appropriate information to contact the administrator. That’s the only information that the family member is required to provide.
Family members of people who pass away are covered under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The creditors can’t harass any of the family members to try to collect the money. Because some of them might not comply with the law, everyone must know about what they should and shouldn’t do if they are contacted.
One of the most important things to do is to avoid giving out your personal information to the debt collectors. The less information they have, the better things will fare for you. It’s a good idea not to give out any information about the estate either unless you’re the administrator and are providing information you’re legally obligated to disclose.