Are Beneficiaries Responsible for Debts left by the Deceased?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“In Florida, are adult children named as beneficiaries in a will responsible for the debt left by a parent? My father died with $4000 in his checking account and $44000 debt to a nursing home. We are besieged with paperwork from the state and the nursing home needing more and more information. We are not interested in claiming any of his estate and the nursing home is welcome to any of his assets. We paid for his funeral expenses out of pocket.He did not own any property at the time of his death. His nursing home bill was being paid by his health insurance and Medicaid.”Condolences on your loss. My own grandmother passed away last year in Florida in similar financial circumstances.

Question: Generally speaking, heirs are not responsible for the debts of the decedent; those responsibilities lay with, and end with, the estate. Once any monies in the estate are gone, the creditors have to seek payments from insurance companies and/or Medicare.
Even the simplest estate matters, especially in Florida, are best handled by a probate attorney. You should get one ASAP, and his fee should be more than covered by the cash on hand. This doesn’t sound like a complex case, thus an attorney should be able to handle this for you easily and cheaply. He will also explain how to make sure that his fee is paid out of the remaining cash in the estate, so that you aren’t out of pocket. Get a probate attorney; you’ll be happy you did.