Paying Debts & Expenses

How do I pay leftover debt from my estate in Tennessee?

The personal representative must assemble a list of the names and addresses of all known creditors (even those that might have contingent claims against the estate such as a note guaranty) so that they may be sent a copy of the notice to creditors. If the decedent has ever received any nursing home or other benefits through the TennCare program, the State of Tennessee may have a claim against the estate and should be included on the list of creditors. If the personal representative is absolutely certain that there are adequate funds in the estate to pay all lawful creditors, Tennessee law permits the personal representative to pay any debts of the decedent that are less than $1,000. If a particular debt exceeds $1,000 the creditor must file a claim against the decedent’s estate before the claim can be paid, even if the validity of the claim is not in dispute.

What if there isn’t enough money in the estate to cover all of the debts?

If there is any doubt whatsoever that there will be adequate funds in the estate to pay all debts, the personal representative should not pay any debts or expenses until the time period provided by law for filing claims has expired. The personal representative can reimburse him or herself or others if any reasonable funeral expenses or court costs were advanced prior to the opening of the estate with the probate court.