Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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Settling an estate's debts

One who is asked to serve as the personal representative of the estate of a family member or friend in Baton Rouge may immediately envision the feelings of satisfaction that no doubt come with helping beneficiaries claim their allotred interest. While that can certainly make the job worth it, one should know that a number of administrative steps must be taken before they can start sending out money to a decedent's heirs. One of these is paying off whatever debts and liabilities the decedent left behind. Given that MoneyWise reports that the average American will die with over $61,000 in debt, it may be safe to say that as a personal representative, one will almost certainly have to deal with creditors. 

One of the initial responsibilities of a personal representative is to notify creditors of a decedent's death. Per Title III, Article 3302 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure, once three months has passed since the death of a decedent, the personal representative can proceed to pay off the estate's debt. The three-month time period is in place to allow creditors to file their claims against the estate. Once those claims have been filed, the personal representatives shall prepare an inventory of the estate's liabilities to present to the court. It is only after having been granted permission from the court that the personal representative can begin to pay off the debts. 

Debt repayments are made from the estate's assets. Where insufficient liquid assets are available to settle liabilities, the sale of decedent's personal property is typically authorized in order to repay debts. It is only after the court is satisfied that the claims against the estate have been settled that the personal representative can then disperse remaining funds to beneficiaries. 

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Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
11777 Justice Avenue
Baton Rouge, LA 70816

Toll Free: 888-680-3843
Phone: 225-754-9864
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