The executor of the will or administrator of a New Jersey estate should pay off left debts before they distribute any assets. In general, this is how New Jersey handles debt after death. There are some exceptions to this, however.
For example, if there is an existing mortgage on their home, the family member who inherits the house may continue paying the mortgage. If there is not enough money to pay off all debts, the creditors may have to write them off. The law protects family members from having to pay most debts out of their own assets.
The Role of the Executor or Administrator
The executor or administrator of an estate is the person who will be responsible for paying your debts after your death. They will need to enter your estate into probate, and then complete a number of tasks, including:
- Identifying all accounts and assets
- Calculating your debts
- Putting a value on your full range of assets
- Paying debts when possible
- Calculating and paying any applicable taxes
- Distributing your remaining assets according to your will
If you do not have a will or estate plan, you will not get a say in who handles your estate after your death. When someone dies without a will, the case will go to court, and the court will make the decisions about the estate. This includes naming someone to oversee probate, paying debts and distributing assets.
If your loved one passed away without a will, or if they named you the executor of their New Jersey will, we encourage you to reach out to us today at 856-857-6007. We can help you navigate the estate administration process and reduce the risk of estate litigation in your case.
Navigating the New Jersey Probate Process
In New Jersey, entering a will into probate is not as complicated as it is in many states. If an attorney created the will, or if a notary stamped it, it is likely self-proving. This means the county Surrogate will simply need to see it and sign to allow you to begin the administration process.
If it is not self-proving, you may need to have a witness accompany you or provide other proof the signature is real.
Once you enter the will into probate, you will pay a fee based on the number of pages in the will and begin the probate process in earnest. This will include not only paying the debts but also paying taxes and dividing assets as directed by the decedent.
Am I Personally Responsible for My Loved One’s Debts?
Many people worry they will be personally responsible for the debts left by their deceased family member. However, generally, there is no obligation to pay any of your loved one’s debts from your own assets. You can pay what you can from the estate, and creditors will have to write off additional debts.
Let Our Team Help You Pay Your Loved One’s Debts and Settle Their Estate
At Bratton Estate and Elder Care Attorneys, our team can help simplify this complicated process and reduce your stress when you need it most. As the administrator of your family member’s estate or executor of a will, we know how much responsibility you feel is weighing on you.
Our Team Can Handle the Process for You
We can handle all aspects of administering your loved one’s estate, from entering the will into probate to appraising assets and paying debts. Call us today at 856-857-6007.
Talk to a New Jersey Estate Administration Attorney About Your Case Today
If you have questions about what happens to your loved one’s debts after their death, the legal team from Bratton Estate and Elder Care Attorneys can help. We will address any concerns and answer any questions you may have.
Call our team today at 856-857-6007 to start your consultation.