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Do I inherit debts in Washington state?

Most people in Washington have some type of debt when they pass away. This means that the responsibility for the payment usually has to go somewhere. However, you would probably not have to pay personally.

If you were the heir of an estate, you would not have to worry about paying those debts in most cases. As mentioned on Smartasset, if you were the executor, you would be responsible for repayment. The funds would come from the estate itself.

If your loved one died with a large amount of debt, this could be a significant factor in the overall value of the estate. In fact, you may even have a situation in which there are more debts than there are assets.

If you had to deal with one of these insolvent estates, you may want to handle things differently. Namely, you may need to consider any asset you accepted in terms of potential liabilities. Creditors may want to claim the property as collateral — it could be better to walk away if the cost exceeded the value to you.

You could have to enter into probate to access certain high-value assets. There could be challenges with this route. It would be reasonable in most cases to expect the creditor for the related debts to contest any action you made. Furthermore, the criteria for this type of action in the courts are rather strict.  

Regardless of the amount or type of debt in an estate, it is probably important to examine the details of the situation before you act. Every case is different, and there are many paths forward, so please do not view this as legal advice. It is only a general background for the subject.

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Riach Gese Jacobs, PLLC
7331 196th Street, SW
P.O. Box 1067
Lynnwood, WA 98046

Phone: 425-329-7857
Phone: 425-776-3191
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