Sometimes, people think that being an Executor of a Will is a simple and straight-forward process. On the surface, it can be. The Executor gathers the assets of the estate, pays any debts, and follows the directives of the Will and the Probate Court in distributing those assets. However, in some ways, it can be difficult for inexperienced Executors.
Some Executors do not know that not all debts need to be paid. For example, most student loans do not need to be paid after the debtor passes away. If the proper legal steps are followed, then the debt is forgiven. However, the inexperienced Executor who does not know that and pays the student loan debt anyway might find him or herself with some problems. The Executor has used funds that should have gone to the deceased’s heirs inappropriately and Executors can be held personally liable for the mistake.
If you are an Executor, you do yourself a grave disservice by not speaking to an experienced Probate attorney. The attorney can assist you with what to do with the debts and the assets. It is not always as simple as you might think.