How do I pay the bills of someone who passed away?
After someone passes away, their bills are still there, waiting to be paid. Paying these bills can be particularly tricky when an estate is insolvent. An insolvent estate means that there isn’t enough funds in the estate to pay all of the deceased’s debts.
The personal representative, also known as the executor or estate administer, is in charge of paying the decedent’s bills. The personal representative must pay the bills in a particular order that is mandated by Minnesota law. If the personal representative doesn’t pay the bills in this order, he or she could be held personally liable. The personal representative should consult with an experienced probate attorney to ensure they are compliant.
Minnesota Statute 524.3-805 lists the order of priority for what expenses need to be paid.
The order of priority is:
- The costs and expenses of administering the estate (this includes court filing fees);
- Reasonable funeral expenses;
- Debts and taxes under federal law;
- Reasonable and necessary medical, hospital, or nursing home expenses that are associated with the deceased’s last illness (this includes medical assistance claims);
- Reasonable and necessary medical, hospital, or nursing home expenses that are associated with the deceased’s last year of life;
- Debts and taxes under state law; and
- All other claims against the estate.