Brentwood Probate Lawyer Helps Settle Claims, Close Debts for Estates
Fighting to defend your inheritance against invalid claims
A person’s debt does not die with them. Unfortunately, if your loved one dies with a mountain of credit card debt or an outstanding balance on their car loan or mortgage, those creditors can still come calling. Lenders can make a claim against the estate, which can diminish what is left for beneficiaries, leaving a family without the resources needed for the future and destroying a loved one’s legacy.
I’m Judy A. Oxford, an experienced Brentwood probate lawyer, and I have the knowledge and experience to help if you are the beneficiary of an estate that has been besieged by creditors. I help you settle claims against a loved one’s estate and close out debts while fighting to preserve the bulk of your inheritance.
What is the priority order for paying out an estate’s assets in Tennessee?
An estate may not have enough assets to pay out all the beneficiaries and to close out debts. Few people know when they are going to die and are able to plan for it by paying off all their debts ahead of time. Therefore, many people die with a lot of debt left over.
If there is not enough money in the estate to cover it all, the court will prioritize who and what gets paid. Typically, the priority order is:
- Costs of administering the estate
- Funeral expenses
- Taxes and other assessments
- Medical expenses for the last illness of the decedent, judgments against the decedent, and other claims (including beneficiaries’)
Debts can be discharged if there is not enough money in the estate to cover them all. In some cases, an estate can be declared insolvent, which means that it does not have enough assets to cover the debts and creditors can no longer make any claims against it.
I work to help clients keep as much of their inheritance as possible by challenging the validity of certain claims, negotiating debt settlements where appropriate, or arguing for some other appropriate relief. I explore every possible strategy for reducing debts from the estate and preserving assets for beneficiaries.
Exceptions to usual debt distribution for estates
There are many exceptions to the way the court distributes an estate and to who is accountable for debts. For example, if you were named as a joint account holder or a co-signor on a loan, you would be fully responsible for the balance of the debt, regardless of whether the estate is declared insolvent or whether other priorities outrank the creditor.
I help my clients understand how these exceptions apply to their estate closing. For example, if children are named as beneficiaries to an estate in which the spouse is still living, it is possible that those debts can be transferred to the spouse so that the estate’s assets can be preserved. My goal is to preserve your loved one’s legacy by ensuring that any hard-won assets stay in the family and with other named beneficiaries.
Contact an experienced Brentwood Tennessee probate lawyer today to close an estate’s debts
Closing an estate’s debts can be complicated, and you need an attorney who is experienced in probate law and litigation. Contact me, Judy A. Oxford Attorney at Law, to discuss the specifics of your loved one’s estate and learn how I can help. I offer a free consultation. Call my office at (615) 791-8511 or use my secure online form. I’m a Brentwood probate lawyer known for getting results, and I’m ready to help you.