Do beneficiaries have to pay creditors if the estate does not have sufficient funds?

by | Mar 20, 2020

Generally the answer is “no.” Heirs and beneficiaries can’t be made responsible for your general debts, at least without their consent. Unless the deceased had gifted away his or her assets to someone shortly before dying, or otherwise acted in concert with them to defraud his or her creditors, beneficiaries should not have any liability to the deceased’s creditors just because they are beneficiaries. Of course, the estate may not have anything left for them, but the beneficiaries would not have to pay creditors out of their own pockets. Of course, if the children or beneficiaries took any property or benefits from the deceased or the estate, or had assumed liability for care given the deceased, or guaranteed payment, they could be held liable for some or all of the deceased’s debts separately, not because they are relatives or beneficiaries.

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