As the executor or administrator of a decedent’s estate, you’ll need to review any outstanding debts or liabilities owed by the decedent. These expenses should be paid out of the estate prior to making distributions of assets to intended beneficiaries. One way of identifying any debts owed is to monitor the decedent’s mail for statements that come in. In an increasingly digital world, it may be even more productive to have log-in information to review online statements for accounts. Finally, notice of the estate can be published in the newspaper. Any creditors would have one year to submit their claim against the estate for outstanding debts.
Medical expenses must also be considered. This is especially important if the decedent was in-patient at a facility prior to their death. To the extent their long-term care was subsidized by the government funds, a claim may be assessed against the estate for the costs of the care. Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have an Estate Recovery Program permits the state to pursue compensation for medical assistance provided to the decedent. As executor or administrator, you should also check that no outstanding funds are due if the decedent utilized subsidized long-term care. Certain expenses of estate administration can also be paid by the estate. This may include fees paid to the court of the estate process, fees paid to an attorney to handle the estate, or even fees paid to an accountant for preparing tax returns. Work with an experienced estate attorney to understand your obligation to manage the debts of the decedent if appointed as executor or administrator. by April M. Townsend