Serving as the executor for someone’s estate probably means a lot of work for you. However, it will benefit your deceased loved one and all of the people listed as beneficiaries in their estate plan if you handle things properly. You can also expect the estate to reimburse you for your time and the cost of any attorney who helps you with the probate process.
One of the most common concerns about estate administration or probate involves the financial obligations of the executor. As the executor, you need to handle certain obligations before you distribute any assets. What debts do you have to pay with assets from the estate?
Florida ranks debts in order of priority for executors
You might hope that only certain debts continue to be enforceable after someone dies, but that is not the case. Any debts that the deceased would be responsible for paying if they were alive still need to be paid.
Payment for everything from medical debts to taxes must come from the estate. If you distribute assets without making the necessary payments to creditors and taxing authorities, you could be held accountable for those oversights. However, if there aren’t enough assets to pay all of the debts, what matters is that you focused on the highest priority debts first.
Paying debts in the order designated under the law is important. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you understand your role as executor and the probate laws of the state. This can help you avoid making mistakes that could have financial consequences.