In a previous post we discussed the role of the Executor/Executrix of a will. Someone asked a question pertaining to debts of the estate and whether those responsibilities fall to the executor. Does the Executor become liable for the debts incurred, even if debts exceed assets?

An Executor steps into ‘the shoes’ of the testator (deceased person). What this means is that they take the place of the testator as if the testator was still alive.

All of the debts and assets of the testator have to be dealt with before the estate can be finalized. If there are more debts than assets, the Executor would need to arrange a payout of the assets to the creditors in such a manner as to deal with them creditors fairly. Likely this would mean that they would each be paid a percentage of the amount outstanding. However, if there was not agreement by all of the creditors, a bankruptcy may be required.

Generally, in the event that the debts of an estate exceed the assets of that estate, each of the estate’s creditors would receive a prorated share of the debt owed to them.

Neither an Executor, Administrator or beneficiary is liable to pay any of the debts of the estate prior to receiving his or her share thereof.

A share in an estate is often referred to as a “gift“. Once you receive the promise of a gift you ought not to have to pay to receive it. Really, what kind of gift would that be?

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