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Scranton Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Estate Planning > Will My Family Members Have to Pay All My Debts in Pennsylvania When I Die?

Will My Family Members Have to Pay All My Debts in Pennsylvania When I Die?


Not everyone is in a position to leave their beneficiaries heaps of cash after they pass away. In fact, some individuals might be worried about leaving their family members exactly the opposite. If you’re dealing with considerable amounts of debt, it’s only natural to worry about what will happen after you pass away. Will your loved ones be stuck with all your missed bills? Are there any debts that are “forgiven” after you pass away? How can you minimize the potential financial burden on your family members?

All of these questions and many others can easily be answered by a qualified, experienced estate planning attorney in Pennsylvania. With a skilled legal expert by your side, you can take steps to address this issue and plan your estate in the best possible manner. An experienced estate planning attorney can use a number of strategies to help mitigate any financial consequences that your family members may encounter.

Insolvent Estates

When you pass away, your estate is examined closely, and all of your debts and assets are taken into account. If your debts are greater than your assets, your estate is said to be “insolvent.” This means that your personal representative will be wholly concerned with paying off your debts as best they can rather than distributing funds to your beneficiaries. All of the money from your assets is used to pay off the debts. If debts are still left unpaid after all of your assets have been liquidated, your family members will not be responsible for paying off the remainder.

Your Family Members May Still Receive Funds

The payment of debts follows a very specific order of priorities in Pennsylvania. You’ll be happy to hear that your family may still receive funds, even if you have more debts than assets. The first priority is to pay for the administration of your estate. This includes legal fees and so on. Next, your assets will go towards the “family exemption.” This is a sum of $3,500 for each family member who resided with the decedent at the time of their death. Your family members will even have the opportunity to use your assets for your funeral expenses, medical costs, and past rent due before your creditors have a chance to have their debts paid.

The Only Time Your Family Members Will Have to Pay Your Debts

With all that said, there is one situation in which your family members may be liable for your debts. This is called third party liability. If your account executor makes a mistake when handling the estate or a family member holds a joint debt account with you, they may be forced to pay debts after your passing.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Estate Planning Attorney Today

If you’re serious about reducing the financial impact on your loved ones after your passing, it makes sense to consult with an estate planning attorney as soon as possible. Reach out to the  Northeastern Pennsylvania estate planning attorneys at the Needle Law Firm at your earliest convenience, and we can develop an action plan together.





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