If there are two things that remain constant through generations, they are the certainties of debt and death. Everyone has debt at some point in their lives, and everyone has an end to their life. Those who are up in age may be concerned about the amount of debt they have and whether they can pay it off before leaving this life. Additionally, they don’t want to be a financial burden on their families and don’t have the mental health or emotional stamina to deal with creditors.
Some may believe that their debt dies with them when they pass away, but it is critical to know that this may not always happen. Additionally, it is important to know what types of creditors will attempt to collect after a person’s death.
Most creditors will use the probate process as a way to collect on certain debts. A probate proceeding will allow for an organized process for creditors to establish legal claims to what is potentially owed, and the court will evaluate each claim for its legitimacy. For instance, creditors may petition the court to seek payment for unsatisfied judgments, unpaid mortgage payments, and back property taxes, as examples.
The probate process is also important for executors who may not be able to decipher whether a creditor’s claim is legally viable. After all, the stress of additional (and previously unknown) debt can make an emotional situation that much more difficult.
In situations like these, the guidance and advice from an experienced probate attorney can be helpful.