Who is responsible for paying for the debts of an estate?

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Who is responsible for paying for the debts of an estate?

My mother-in-law passed away about 10 months ago. Her house (which was sold) and other assets were left in a trust for her sons. The money has now been divided between them but there is now credit card debt left. Are they responsible for paying this?

Asked on December 16, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The trustee is responsible to not waste assets of the trust and to not create more debt or problems.  This is the responsibility of the trustee. If there is credit card debt, the trustee should have known this before anything was divided. The estate and trustee could now be jointly responsible for the credit card debt if the beneficiaries are negatively impacted by any litigation created by the creditor.


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