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Our probate team specialises in helping our clients cope with the legal aspects of probate, wills, and estate planning. In what is an emotional and difficult time, our team steps in to help you through the process.

One of the most stressful situations when it comes to dealing with someone’s estate is any debts that might have been left.  When someone dies, the debts they leave are paid out of their estate which is the money, possessions, and property they leave behind.

Who is responsible for their debts?

In most straightforward cases, the named executor or administrator is legally responsible for the estate assets and how they are dealt with until the date everything has been passed on to the beneficiaries – this time is known as the administration period.

During the administration period, the executor is also responsible for paying any debts left by the person who died, unpaid bills or unpaid personal taxes, applying for tax refunds, repaying any overpaid benefits, etc.

What if there aren’t enough assets to pay off all debts?

When there isn’t enough money or assets to pay off all debts, then the debts would be paid in order of importance. Usually, if no estate is left, then there’s no money to pay off the debts and the debts will expire with them.

We advise you to work out what kind of debts are owed, for example, is there a guarantor for any of the debts? If there is, then the guarantor will remain responsible for the debt if it’s paid by the estate. If it’s a joint debt, the name of the deceased should be removed from the debt.

Make sure to contact the creditors and let them you’re going through the legal process of dealing with the estate and debts.


We understand more than anybody that there’s a lot to do when you’re dealing with the debts and estate of someone who’s died. Please get in touch with our team for advice on how to manage administrating a will.

Read our blog about who should be the executor of your will.