Loved ones’ remaining debts are handled through probate

After a close loved one’s death, especially a parent, surviving family may be uncertain about how to handle certain tasks. Certainly, handling the funeral and related duties take top priority, but afterward, many aspects of closing a California estate need to be addressed. Typically, this happens through probate, but adult children may not know when or how to take action regarding their parents’ finances.

When it comes to a parent’s remaining debts, children may benefit from understanding that they do not have an obligation to pay those debts. During probate proceedings, the executor of the estate will address the remaining debts and use estate funds to cover applicable balances. The exception to this situation is that an adult child may be responsible for certain debt if he or she co-signed a loan with the parent who later died.

Handling debts during probate involves providing creditors with proof of death, which can be done by sending copies of the death certificate to those creditors. While this action in itself may not make the debt go away, it should stop collections efforts, and the executor can address the debt as necessary during probate. If a collection agent continues to call a deceased person’s child in efforts to obtain payment, that person can inform the agent that he or she is not responsible for the debt and enlist the help of an attorney if necessary.

Many people may worry about the possibility of inheriting their parents’ or other loved ones’ debts, but that is not typically an issue with which to concern oneself. Probate proceedings handle many remaining affairs of an estate, including addressing creditors. California residents acting as executors or other surviving loved ones who may have questions about this topic could find it useful to speak with legal professionals.