Can The Deceased Person’s Debts Be Paid From Their Estate During Probate?

Share This Post:

Estate During Probate

Handling Debt in Florida Probate

Dealing with the financial responsibilities of a deceased relative can be daunting and emotionally taxing. A key element in this process is the resolution of the deceased’s debts during the Florida probate proceedings.

Probate is the legal framework for distributing a deceased person’s assets and settling their financial affairs. It often questions the necessity of paying off the deceased’s debts and the involved procedures. This article delves into the crucial aspects of debt management in Florida’s probate process.

Demystifying Probate in Florida

Before diving into debt settlement details, it’s important to understand the probate process in Florida. Probate fulfills several critical functions, including:

  • Authenticating the deceased’s will, if available.
  • Listing and assessing the deceased’s assets and debts.
  • Nominating an executor or personal representative to manage the estate.
  • Allocating assets to beneficiaries or heirs according to the will or state law.
  • Settling any disputes or claims against the estate.

Now, we turn our attention to how debts are handled during probate.

Order of Priority in Debt Settlement

During probate in Florida, debts are not treated equally. The state prescribes a specific sequence for settling debts from the estate. Here’s a breakdown of the typical debt settlement hierarchy:

  1. Secured Debts: These include debts with collateral, like mortgages or car loans. Addressing these debts is crucial to avoid losing the collateral. Beneficiaries may choose to take on these debts to keep the associated property.
  2. Funeral Costs: Expenses for the deceased’s funeral and burial are usually prioritized over other debts.
  3. Last 60 Days’ Medical Bills: Medical expenses incurred in the deceased’s final 60 days often precede debt settlement.
  4. Other Debts and Taxes: This category covers debts like credit card bills, personal loans, and any taxes owed by the deceased or the estate, following the above categories.
  5. Unsecured Debts: These debts, such as credit card and personal loans, are settled after higher-priority debts. If the estate’s assets are insufficient, these debts may remain unpaid.

Note that certain assets, like life insurance proceeds or trust-held assets, may bypass probate and are not typically used for debt settlement.

Utilizing Assets for Debt Settlement

The executor or personal representative is tasked with identifying and, if necessary, liquidating estate assets to pay off debts. Depending on the estate’s financial situation, this could involve selling properties or other assets.

The personal representative must follow Florida’s legal guidelines and debt priorities to avoid legal issues and disputes.

Protecting Beneficiaries

Generally, heirs and beneficiaries are not personally liable for the deceased’s debts. Florida law protects them from using their assets for these obligations. However, debt settlements can impact their inheritance.

If the estate cannot cover all debts, inheritances might be reduced. Beneficiaries should stay informed about the probate process and seek advice from a probate lawyer for concerns about asset distribution.

Seeking Legal Advice in Probate

Probate can be intricate, especially regarding debt settlement. Both personal representatives and beneficiaries can benefit from consulting with a knowledgeable probate lawyer in Miami.

Experienced attorneys can guide you through the probate process, clarify debt priorities, and ensure compliance with Florida laws. They can also help resolve any disputes during probate.


In Florida, settling a deceased person’s debts is crucial to probate. Debts are paid from estate assets in a specific legal order. Beneficiaries are usually not personally responsible for these debts, but asset distribution may affect their inheritances.

Contact Morgan Legal Group in Miami for personalized legal assistance managing debt repayment during probate.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The content of this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this blog or contacting Morgan Legal Group PLLP.

Got a Problem? Consult With Us

For Assistance, Please Give us a call or schedule a virtual appointment.
Estate Planning New York Lawyer Estate Planning Miami Lawyer Estate Planning Lawyer NYC Miami Lawyer Near Me Estate Planning Lawyer Florida Near Me Dental Near Me Lawyers Probate Lawyer Hallandale Beach Probate Lawyer Near Miami Estate Planning Lawyer Near Miami Estate Planning Attorney Near Miami Probate Attorney Near Miami Best Probate Attorney Miami Best Probate Lawyer Miami Best Estate Planning Lawyer Miami Best Estate Planning Attorney Miami Best Estate Planning Attorney Hollywood Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Palm Beach Florida Estate Planning Attorney Palm Beach Immigration Miami Lawyer Estate Planning lawyer Miami Local Lawyer Florida Florida Attorneys Near Me Probate Key West Florida Estate Planning Key West Florida Will and Trust Key West Florida local lawyer local lawyer mag local lawyer magazine local lawyer local lawyer elite attorney magelite attorney magazineestate planning miami lawyer estate planning miami lawyers estate planning miami attorney probate miami attorney probate miami lawyers near me lawyer miami probate lawyer miami estate lawyer miami estate planning lawyer boca ratonestate planning lawyers palm beach estate planning lawyers boca raton estate planning attorney boca raton estate planning attorneys boca raton estate planning attorneys palm beach estate planning attorney palm beach estate planning attorney west palm beach estate planning attorneys west palm beach west palm beach estate planning attorneys west palm beach estate planning attorney west palm beach estate planning lawyers boca raton estate planning lawyers boca raton probate lawyers west palm beach probate lawyer west palm beach probate lawyers palm beach probate lawyersboca raton probate lawyers probate lawyers boca raton probate lawyer boca raton Probate Lawyer Probate Lawyer Probate Lawyer Probate Lawyer Probate Lawyer Probate Lawyer best probate attorney Florida best probate attorneys Florida best probate lawyer Florida best probate lawyers palm beach estate lawyer palm beach estate planning lawyer fort lauderdale estate planning lawyer in miami estate planning north miami Florida estate planning attorneys florida lawyers near mefort lauderdale local attorneys miami estate planning law miami estate planning lawyers miami lawyer near me probate miami lawyer probate palm beach Florida trust and estate palm beach