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Taking care of the deceased’s debts during probate

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2022 | Probate

The executor’s job is to distribute the decedent’s assets according to their final wishes. But being the executor of an estate in Oklahoma also means settling the decedent’s debts.

Most of us in Norman carry some amount of debt. Mortgages, credit card bills, car payments and student loans are all parts of modern life. So it is fairly likely that when one of your relatives passes away, they will leave behind some unpaid debt. Unfortunately, just because the person who took out the credit has passed away, it does not mean the debts automatically get wiped out.

In fact, as the executor, a big part of your job is to take care of the decedent’s debt. This starts with providing notice of the person’s death so that their creditors have the chance to make a claim on their estate. You also need to compile a list of all the decedent’s known debts.

Finding a reasonable compromise

Once creditors enter the probate process, the amount they seek often exceeds the value of the assets the decedent left behind. But creditors such as banks and credit card companies are often willing to negotiate a settlement. Meanwhile, you are responsible for making continuing payments, like the mortgage on the home, and closing accounts like utilities and their cellphone account.

In Oklahoma, as an executor, you have the right to hire a probate attorney to advise you. This is usually the best way to negotiate with creditors to satisfy their claims and still have enough left over in the estate to provide heirs with a substantial legacy.