Who Pays the Decedent’s Bills?

In addition to the decedent’s funeral and last expenses, the decedent no doubt had ongoing bills that are coming due. 

How do you handle these ongoing bills?  Do these bills need to be paid? If they are paid, how can they be paid?  If someone pays them, will they be reimbursed for the expense?

Payments from the Decedent’s Accounts or Cash

To the extent the decedent left a joint account or ready-cash, it may be possible for the decedent’s loved ones to spend these funds to pay the decedent’s ongoing bills.  This can help preserve estate assets until the probate process starts.

It can also lead to disputes–and liability–if the funds are not carefully tracked and used to preserve the decedent’s assets.  Needless to say, the person spending the decedent’s funds should keep detailed records and receipts for the expenses.

Payments by Third Parties

As noted in the prior article, Texas law allows those who pay the decedent’s funeral and last illness expenses to be reimbursed for the expenses from the estate.  This reimbursement is handled by making the party who pays a creditor of the estate.

These creditor claims can be in an amount up to $15,000 and get first priority of repayment from the decedent’s estate.  Amounts over $15,000 may also be allowable, but only if the estate has sufficient assets to pay all other claims first.

This means that one has to be confident that the estate will have sufficient assets to pay up to the $15,000 limit, but also that the assets will exceed the amounts claimed by other creditors if more than $15,000 of funeral and last illness expenses are paid.  

We’ll address how to access the decedent’s safety deposit box next. Click here to continue reading.  >>>>

Hire an Experienced Probate Attorney

Do you need help with a probate matter in Houston-metro area or the surrounding communities?  We are experienced probate attorneys who represent clients with sensitive probate matters.  If so, please give us a call us at (713) 909-4906 or use the contact form below to see how we can help.