In this video attorney Curt Runger answers the difficult and oftentimes misunderstood question of if you should pay a loved one’s bills after they pass away. View the video below or see the transcript to hear Curt’s guidance to this sad but necessary information.
Hi my name is Curt Runger and I’m the Managing member of Douglass & Runger, PLLC, a Memphis law firm, and I assist my clients in navigating through the probate process after the death of a loved one. I wanted to dispel a myth that I hear people say all the time, and they think it’s a good thing and they’re coming from it in the right place and their hearts in the right place, but it’s actually not something that they should do so. Oftentimes, a loved one dies and one of their family members reaches out to me and says, Hey, you know, you know, my mother died and you know I’ve been paying all of her bills ever since she’s died so we’ve taken care of doing that. And they think that they’re doing the right thing they think that they’re doing the honorable thing I think that that’s what the law requires them to do. The reality of that is, it’s actually not a smart thing to do, you should not pay any bills for a loved one, after they die, unless those bills are paid. Pursuant to an estate being opened in probate court. And the reason is is because a lot of these creditors, who are out there who are sending these bills. They’ll never actually do what needs to be done in order to actually, you know, get paid as a creditor of an estate. So, you’re kind of throwing away money if you’re just taking care of these bills and you’re using, you know what would otherwise be estate assets to pay these bills in the first place. Now the caveat to this is the situations where it is actually a smart thing or could be a smart thing to do in terms of paying bills would be, you know, if there’s a house note, or a car note if there’s a there’s a secured creditor so in other words if the house doesn’t get paid the mortgage company could come and foreclose on the property or if you’ve got a vehicle that’s almost paid off and you stop paying it after somebody dies you know the bank can come back and get the car. So under those two circumstances you may actually want to pay the bills, I mean especially if you have a house and there’s a ton of equity in the house. And you know you and your siblings are going to inherit it under your parents last will and testament, you know, That’s a bill that actually would make sense to pay because you would hate to lose that asset just for failure to pay the mortgage node or if there’s a vehicle that you know you know like $1,000 on a vehicle on the vehicle is worth $20,000, to not pay it would be a mistake in that scenario because then the bank could come back and basically take the vehicle away and useless vehicle but by and large, those two situations are really the only type of situations where you’re going to want to immediately pay bills to creditors of a loved one after they pass away and you got any other questions about the probate process, please feel free to give me a call my number is 901-388-5805. Once again, my name is Curt Runger give me a call at 901-388-5805. Thank you.
If you have any further questions do not hesitate to call Curt or his team at Douglass & Runger, PLLC at (901) 388-5805 relating to other questions you may have about the will preparation process.