There are many issues that must be dealt with when a person passes away. If they have taken the time to create a comprehensive estate plan, their loved ones may have an easier time working through the management of their assets and the settlement of their estate. Individuals who pass away in New York and other states, however, are generally not relieved of their obligations to pay off their debts when they die. It may fall on their estates and estate administrators to ensure those costs are covered.
After a death, an estate administrator will create what is often referred to as an inventory. The inventory is a list of all of the decedent's assets and debts. While creating the inventory, the estate administrator must contact the decedent's creditors to let them know that the decedent has passed; creditors then have notice that their debts may not be paid and may take action if necessary to have their outstanding obligations met.
Assets from the decedent's estate are generally used to pay off outstanding debts. If any assets are left over, they may be distributed to the decedent's beneficiaries according to their will. If an estate does not have enough money in it to pay off its debts, an estate administrator may have to turn to the courts for guidance on how to proceed.
An estate inventory is an important responsibility that falls on estate administrators. Finding all of a decedent's creditors and satisfying their outstanding debts can be a massive undertaking and can endure for years. Estate administration questions can always be directed to estate planning attorneys for further clarification and support. This can help ensure proper steps are taken and the rights of those involved are secure.