Are beneficiaries liable for debts of the estate?

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Are beneficiaries liable for debts of the estate?

My mother passed away and I am the beneficiary.  I just received final bill from nursing home for $3000. Am I responsible to pay this?

Asked on April 29, 2011 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, they are not.  A beneficiary is under no obligation to pay the debts of an estate.  They are entitled to such proceeds free and clear.  However, no proceeds will be paid out until all debts of the estate have been settled.   Therefore any inheritance payable to you will be decreased by the amount of bills and other debt that must be paid out to creditors.


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