After death, a Georgia resident’s debts become part of his or her estate. As noted by Bankrate.com, the deceased’s estate has liability for paying any taxes owed and the balances left on consumer debts such as credit cards, car loans and mortgages. An estate may also cover some of the deceased’s final medical bills.
When an individual dies without a will, Georgia’s probate court appoints an administrator to settle an estate’s financial matters; he or she may then review the deceased’s private affairs. The court-appointed administrator pays the deceased’s taxes and outstanding debts before distributing property to heirs.
Handling unpaid debts with a will and a personal representative
A valid will provides a living individual with the opportunity to name a personally chosen representative in advance to oversee payments of any remaining debts after death. With a will, his or her chosen executor settles an estate’s financial matters instead of a court-appointed administrator.
By using a will to proactively choose a trusted executor to handle an estate, an individual may discuss and arrange his or her financial affairs while alive. If an individual intends to leave a home to an heir, for example, the chosen executor may assist the heir in taking over the deceased’s mortgage so that an heir may reside in the property.
Leaving instructions for a chosen executor
An executor carries out the instructions left in a will and orders a copy of the deceased’s death certificate from the Department of Health. As noted by Credit.com, the executor must then order a credit report, review the existing account balances and contact the deceased’s creditors.
A perceptive executor may negotiate a lump-sum payment with creditors and work within the limitations of an estate. When a deceased’s estate cannot cover unpaid debts, creditors may write them off as unrecoverable.