41. Do a decedent’s children or beneficiaries have to pay the decedent’s creditors out of their own pocket?

Generally, no. They can be personally liable for the decedent’s debts if they took property or benefits from the decedent or the estate, conspired with the decedent to transfer property in order to defraud the creditors, or personally guaranteed payment of the debt. But generally, people cannot be made responsible for the general debts of others. If the decedent didn’t leave enough assets to pay their creditors, then the creditors will get proportional shares of the estate assets, but the decedent’s children and beneficiaries won’t personally owe the creditors any money for the unpaid balance of the debts.

bankruptcy glossary terms