Arlington, VA asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts

Q: As executor, can I put money I have inherited from a retirement account/insurance policy of the deceased to pay debt?

Money is owed to family member for having paid bills but was not paid back prior to the death of the person who owed the money. There is proof this money is owed. There is not enough cash in the estate to pay back the money.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Michael Monteforte
Michael Monteforte
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Woburn, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: I think that a little more info is needed here, but wanted to give you some basics. First, the estate has to pay valid claims so long as there is money to do so. BUT, if you inherited funds from the deceased and those funds were not part of the estate (in other words, you were named as a beneficiary on the retirement account and life insurance) you do not have to use those funds to pay estate debts, and you should not be personally liable for the estate debts. Because you are dealing with a family member, you certainly could repay them from the funds you inherited, but that's your choice.

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