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Paying Bills When a Loved One Dies

The main purpose of probate is transferring title of the decedent’s property to his heirs and/or beneficiaries.

Paying Bills When a Loved One DiesThe death of a loved one can be a difficult time. However, there are still practical and financial matters that need to be attended to. When someone dies, the Personal Representative or Executor of the estate needs to publish a notice of death in the newspaper to alert any possible creditors of the death. Creditors then have six months to make a claim on the estate for payment of the deceased’s debt owed to them.

Bank Accounts

If a bank account was held only in the name of the family member that died, the money in that account becomes part of his or her estate and cannot be withdrawn. You will, however, want to notify the bank, online bookkeeping services or any other financial institution of the death. If the account is held jointly, then the money will pass to the joint account holder.

Credit Card Bills

If the credit card was held only the name of the person who died, in many cases, the surviving spouse will not be responsible for that debt. However, if any credit cards are in the name of two or more people, the surviving people on the credit card will be responsible for the credit card debt.  The money to pay off any credit card debt will have to come from the estate.


You will have to file income taxes for your deceased loved one for the year that he or she died. The estate may also be liable for Federal Estate Taxes and Inheritance Tax.

The payment of inheritance taxes varies depending on what state your loved one resided in. Some states don’t have estate taxes at all.

If your loved one’s estate was over a certain amount, the estate may have to pay estate taxes. You should check with a probate attorney and certified public accountant to determine if estate taxes are owed for your loved one.


Having to deal with the estate of a loved one while going through the grieving process is never easy.  No matter what some creditors tell you, some debts may not have to be repaid. You may want to have the estate hire a probate attorney to see that all matters are attended to properly and that the estate is handled in the correct manner.

For nearly 25 years, Jon Ostroff has been representing the estates of over 100 children and adults who have died across Pennsylvania as a result of someone else’s negligence. Jon will spend the time and money it takes to figure out what happened to your loved one. If unable to recover money for your loved one’s estate, Jon will pay these costs.

Jon Ostroff’s ability to find the evidence that wins cases has earned him his distinguished reputation across Pennsylvania as a wrongful death attorney.

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