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Do I continue to pay off her loans, credit card bills or medical bills?

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N1 - for us, the death certificate is ordered from the state & the FH will do that at the costs the state charges (no additional service charge). The ME does not provide them. The hospice MD signs off on death via on-line submission & doesn't actually even go to NH to see the now deceased patient. Death certificates come from the state (TX). I would imagine that what is required to be done will vary by state laws??!!

For us, the FH has to get the state issued death certificate and a cremation permit (this I think is issued by the ME) before a cremation can be done too.

When I was executrix, I could go to file the debtor notice in the paper. But that was years & years ago, and now state law requires that the person doing this sort of action be a legal resident of the state with a state address & phone. Since I'm not, these sorts of things will have to be done by the probate attorney with the debtor claims being sent to probate attorney's office address. I'll still be the executrix for my mom but some things will just have to be done by the probate atty.
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Whether or not bills are paid and the order in which they are paid are really interdependent on your state's probate laws and just what is left that is the estate.
Some states have probate set up as a level of claim situation. And if that is the case then bills have to be paid according to the class or their level of claim. Like for TX, CC is a class 8 claim. Isn't likely to be paid, now possibly could be if the estate is large and a lot of $$. But more than likely once all Class 1 - 7 is paid or settled, there isn't anything left for Class 8, 9, etc.

So in that type of probate state, the CC companies aren't likely to want to take the time and legal costs to deal with probate. If the state is one that allows for a good amount of time to present letters and have probate open, the creditor could be waiting years (4 years in TX) to even see if there will be any $ left.

If your elder is on Medicaid, all the states are going to have the required MERP - Medicaid Estate Recovery Program - for family & the executor to deal with. MERP fully expects their lein or claim to be dealt with before an unsecured creditor - like a CC. How MERP gets done - again - is dependent on just how your state does probate. Like for TX, MERP is a class 7 claim against the estate & all costs related to Class 1 - 6 are paid first before class 7.

If your parent is on Medicaid & dies, it is really important that family clearly understand what MERP means & how to deal with it so far as how your state's laws impact how MERP is done after death. There are a couple of threads on this site of family who went ahead and transferred mom's home & did not get the MERP release of claim, and they have been unable to sell the property or get ownership completed as the MERP claim or lien was not settled. If your elder or parent is getting Medicaid, you really really need to familiarized yourself with the implications for a MERP claim or lien; what exemptions, exclusions or hardship are allowed and requirements for doing those and the timeframe required by both the state and family to deal with a MERP release or enforcement of the claim/lien.
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My MIL recently passes and my husband is the executor etc. We are definitely going to pay all the bills. It is just the right thing to do. If the debt was incurred, it needs to be payed.
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PrettyGood, Sometimes they do; sometimes they don't. Wait the 90-120 days and see.
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I don't think a Visa company would just cancel the remaining balance, if it's worth their time, they would likely go file a claim against the Estate in probate court.
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Reverseroles: Yes, I did employ a lawyer, and he sent out forms to all family members. He also included a copy of the deceased will to each sibling, son, daughter and everyone who may have had a vested interest in the deceased's property, both real and personal. Each had to sign, date and notarize everything and return it to the lawyer's office. Time was of the essence here, and distributions were made only after all papers were back in the lawyers office.
Some were anxiously awaiting their money, while others could care less..
I did receive wonderful thank-you notes stating that the process was very well-handled and professional.
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Reverseroles, I was executor of my Mom's estate. I have 5 siblings and also kept up with all the paperwork. I made 5 copies of everything, bank statements, death certificate , anything pertaining to her estate. I bought 5 nice folders and arranged everything in chronological order. I also ordered 5 copies of the obituary and enclosed that along with a copy of Mom's birth certificate. My siblings all really appreciated , the professional way it was given, to each of them. We have always been a close family and I wanted to keep it that way. They had a right to know everything about the estate , that I knew. I did not need an attorney . Just a little time and very little money. Hope things go well with you and your family, too.
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N1K2R3, did you have to get a lawyer to give all of the deseased financial reviews to the siblings or children? I have no idea what happens after. I am the POA, Trustee and executor. I know the siblings will wnat to know where every penny went in my Moms care and I have it all documented, but how do I go about it, etc.
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The attending physician who signed the death certificate should provide multiple copies of the death certificate to the executor WITH SEAL. Copies without seal are not considered official. Insurance companies and beneficiaries (even if nothing is inherited) need copies of the death certificate.
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This is one of my favorite topics, since I was executor for three different deceased persons. No one, and I do mean no one needs, or is required to pay the credit card bills of another person with these exceptions. 1) There was more than one name on the account, one of whom is currently still alive). 2) You turned the bills over to an estate lawyer who may wish to process them himself/herself.
Here is a plan: Trot on down to the courthouse in which the deceased was domiciled. Bring along copies of the death certificate and all bills owed by the deceased. ( current). Fill out forms for the clerk in which a NOTICE TO DEBTORS AND CREDITORS appears at the top of the page. Make copies for yourself. Fill out envelopes for the clerk. Enclose death certificate and bill in each envelope with the court's return address on it. Apply postage. Wait 90- 120 days. If no answer has been received by the court, you are under no obligation to pay anything.. If a creditor or debtor comes forth after the 120 dyas, their claim is considered "untimely" and will be rejected by the court.
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Barbee - don't rush into doing anything. At some point in time all the creditors will need to be notified about the death. If you don't have a few original death certificates, I would suggest you order those first. They seem to be the more you order the cheaper, so do a rough count of creditors, insurance policies and get enough to send an original to each. (For TX the first is $ 12 and each add'l is $4 and can take a month+ if not ordered right after death).

If there was an life insurance policy, I'd deal with getting that paid to the beneficiary first & foremost. Unless the beneficiary was her estate, then whomever is named, well the $$ is all theirs. They have no need to use any of it to pay the debts that mom could have left. So if mom named you as beneficiary, then it's all yours. You do not have to use the $ to pay on any of mom's debts. You can if you want to but do not have to.

If the CC were in her name, the debt is not yours to pay. Ever.

If she had any real property - like home, land, car - then you may need to go through probate to deal with these and change the ownership as per her will. If there was no will, then she is considered to have died "intestate" - this is more complex. Probate & death laws are really state specific, so you need an probate attorney to deal with it. Some states are probate easy & some states have a whole "small estates" probate system &/or a "muniment of title" option which is easy, straightforward & low cost. Personally I think probate is a good thing to do as it cleanly & clearly establishes settlement on the person.

Again no need to rush to do anything. You are still dealing with a loss, take your time and don't feel pressed to sign any checks. My sympathy to you too.
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unless your name is on the bills also then and only then are you responsible for them. other than that make copies of the death certificate and send to each one. Most are happy with a copy a very few may need an orginal. I just went thru this with my mom who past away this past April. You have my heart felt sympathy.
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When my father died and I called the credit card company to cancel his credit card I asked them to send a final bill so I could pay it off. I was told by them that I was not responsible for the balance, to send a copy of the death certificate, the account would be closed. I did, the account was closed and I did not have to pay the outstanding balance. I asked for a letter that the account was closed and I received one promptly.
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Recently I lost my 2 daughter's & one of them had so many bills & I just had to send in a copy of the death certificate & I was not held responsible for any of her bills. My other daughter was married & I don't have any idea of what was done.
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See your attorney ASAP about settling the estate. It is tricky and you have to pay the bills in the proper order.
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