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Debt could affect division of assets after death in Massachusetts

After a death in the family, the surviving members typically have much to deal with. If the deceased took the proper steps to establishing a will before their demise, it may be easier for the estate to handle the concerns left behind after a death. Typically, one of the most common issues dealt with is the division of certain property. However, before assets are divided, it is important to ensure that any remaining debts have been taken care of.

Some Massachusetts residents may wonder if they would be responsible for debt left behind by a loved one. In many cases, the answer is no, but there are exceptions. For example, if a person held a joint credit account with someone who has recently passed, the surviving account holder would be liable for the debt whether the balance was accrued by one party or both.

Though surviving family should not be held accountable if they do not have any association with credit accounts, creditors may still contact family members in hopes of having it taken care of. In these cases, family members could direct the collector to the executor of the deceased’s estate, who typically is in charge of handling remaining financial obligations. However, this task may be the obligation of the executor but other involved parties should not divide remaining property until debts are covered in order to ensure that the property is not needed to resolve the debt.

Many people hope that debt is not left among their assets after they pass, but remaining debt is an unfortunate reality. Handling the debt of a deceased loved one can be a tricky endeavor, and it can be even more complicated for surviving loved ones if there was not a will drawn appointing an executor. Pre-planning for the possibility of such events could help reduce a burden from surviving family members, and those wishing to appoint an executor or handle other will-related issues may wish to find more information on estate planning and relevant laws in Massachusetts.

Source: MSN Money, Debt after death: 10 things you need to know, No author, Oct. 7, 2013


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