How Do I Pay Estate Bills?

By Owen E. Richason IV
How Do I Pay Estate Bills?

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An estate is the net worth of the decedent, comprised of all assets (including cash, possessions, investments, real property and other legal interests) less their liabilities (such as mortgage, court judgments, liens). After the death of an individual, the decedent's estate must be probated through the court and all remaining obligations are to be administered by the executor named in the will. If the principal dies intestate (without a will or a will that is not legally recognizable), the probate court will set forth an administrator. Estate bills can be paid through a checking account established in the name of the estate.

How Do I Pay Estate Bills?

Open a checking account in the name of the estate. The probate court will have documentation naming the executor or the administrator. These documents will be essential in executing the final wishes of the decedent. The estate checking account will be used for settling the estate's liabilities and should be managed thoroughly and with accountability. It will also be used to maintain the estate until sale (if applicable) to retain utilities and mortgage payments; all other liabilities such as credit cards will have to be settled and closed.

Identify all substantial and verifiable liabilities. The authentication of liabilities will require due diligence on the part of the executor or administrator. The executor or administrator will have to obtain, in writing, all parties seeking payment of the decedent's liabilities (these mostly include debts outside utilities, mortgage and other liabilities essential to the maintenance of the household).

Pay the decedent's liabilities out of the checking account established for the estate. Though the court will probate the estate, the executor or administrator will have to carry out satisfying the decedent's liability. If the decedent's estate maintains any mortgaged property, the property may be sold to satisfy other liabilities, especially if the decedent did not leave enough cash assets necessary to relieve the debts.

About the Author

Owen Richason grew up working in his family's small contracting business. He later became an outplacement consultant, then a retail business consultant. Richason is a former personal finance and business writer for "Tampa Bay Business and Financier." He now writes for various publications, websites and blogs.

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