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Addressing a parent's debt during probate administration

Debt issues can prove difficult to handle. When an Oklahoma parent dies and an adult child is left to handle the remaining estate, dealing with the parent's debt may seem intimidating. During probate administration, addressing outstanding balances does need to take place, and individuals in charge of this task may need to pay close attention.

It may comfort many people to learn that they are likely not personally responsible for their deceased parents' debts. The remaining estate funds should be used to cover those balances as best as possible. If a child co-signed on some line of credit with the parent and that line of credit has a remaining balance, then the child may have obligation to personally attend to that debt. Otherwise, estate funds should be distributed as best as possible to cover other debts.

Because it can be complicated to understand and organize someone else's debts, taking detailed notes and keeping records could prove useful. In some cases, parties may need to talk to multiple individuals in regard to a single account, and noting who was talked to, when and about what topic or account could help keep information on track. These notes could also help a person understand what steps they need to take to address the debt.

There are many difficult and time-consuming tasks that can come along with probate administration. When it comes to dealing with debt, some collectors may try to intimidate individuals or claim that they are responsible for the balances in hopes of getting paid. As a result, executors and other parties who do not have the right information may believe such statements. Therefore, Oklahoma residents working to deal with their deceased parents' estates may wish to obtain assistance from knowledgeable attorneys.

Source: ABC News, "When your parents die broke", Liz Weston, March 5, 2018

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