My mom just recently passed. She left behind an insurance policy and 401k. She did not have a will or own any property. She also did not have a POA. My question is are we liable to pay for her medical and credit card bills?

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My mom just recently passed. She left behind an insurance policy and 401k. She did not have a will or own any property. She also did not have a POA. My question is are we liable to pay for her medical and credit card bills?

We live in Missouri.

Asked on August 23, 2017 under Estate Planning, Missouri

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, beneficiaries/heirs are not liable for the debts of an estate. If there is no money left with which to pay the bills of the deceased, then creditor claims will extinguish as a matter of law. Further, the proceeds of a 401k or life insurance policy go directly to the named beneficiaries; they are not considered to be an asset of an estate. (i.e. they pass outside of probate).


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