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Protecting Your Legacy

Probate: Are children responsible for a deceased parent’s debt?

| Mar 6, 2018 | Probate & Estate Administration |

The loss of a parent can be a difficult event in any Texas resident’s life. Grief can greatly affect many people, and on top of those feelings, some surviving children may also need to take on the responsibilities associated with closing their parents’ estates. These tasks are generally taken care of during the probate process, but some concerns regarding remaining debt may loom quickly.

Luckily, in most cases, surviving children are not responsible for the debt left behind by a parent. Some creditors may try to convince an adult child that he or she is responsible simply as a means to obtain payment. Usually, parental debt must be covered by a child only if the child co-signed a loan, shared credit or took similar actions that caused him or her to have an obligation to pay the debt.

Remaining debts should not just be ignored, however. The executor of the estate should take the proper steps to ensure that outstanding balances are paid by the estate with available funds. If there are not enough funds to cover all the debts, the executor will likely not have to use personal funds to cover those balances.

Dealing with one’s own debt can be difficult enough, so it is understandably challenging to handle debt left behind by a deceased parent. If Texas residents are trying to deal with such issues and feel confused about the proper steps to take, they may wish to consult with knowledgeable attorneys. These legal professionals can help executors and other appropriate parties through the probate process and necessary tasks associated with closing estates.

Source: post-gazette.com, “Finance column: What to do when your parents die broke“, Liz Weston, March 5, 2018