Can You Inherit a Deceased Person’s Debts?

Inheritance Laws & The Deceased’s Debts?


Inheriting a deceased loved one’s estate can sometimes lead to unexpected financial burdens. The question often arises: Can you inherit a deceased person’s debts? The answer is complex and depends on the financial state of the deceased’s estate. This article will explore both solvent and insolvent estates, providing insight into what heirs may face.

Solvent Estates: An Overview

A solvent estate is one where the decedent’s assets exceed their debts. If you’re the heir to such an estate, you may have to make choices about how to handle the deceased’s financial obligations.

Acceptance of Solvent Estate

If you choose to accept a solvent estate, you agree to shoulder the responsibility of settling the deceased’s debts. This process may involve liquidating certain assets to satisfy outstanding liabilities. You may wish to retain some valuable items like jewelry, artwork, collectibles, or vehicles. Although you’re allowed to do this, the responsibility to settle all debts remains, which might involve dipping into your own pockets if necessary.

Insolvent Estates: An Overview

When the deceased’s debts outweigh their assets, the estate is considered insolvent. This situation poses a more complex challenge for the inheritor. However, two options exist in this case: renouncing the estate or pushing for the estate’s bankruptcy.

Renouncing an Insolvent Estate

By renouncing an insolvent estate, you absolve yourself from the responsibility of the deceased’s debts. This step also means forfeiting any claim on the deceased’s assets. Family members can reclaim tangible items without monetary value, such as personal documents or sentimental belongings. However, creditors will lay claim to valuable properties, including jewelry, collectibles, artwork, and other valuable items.

Bankruptcy of the Estate

Filing for the estate’s bankruptcy is another option available to you. Opting for this route relieves you of the deceased’s debts. However, you need not worry about this step affecting your personal credit record. The process is made simpler by the presence of a licensed insolvency trustee who communicates with creditors and liquidates the assets. The funds generated from this liquidation process primarily go towards covering funeral expenses and notary fees.

The Role of a Licensed Insolvency Trustee

A licensed insolvency trustee plays a pivotal role in insolvent estates. They assist in creating an inventory of the deceased’s assets and debts. Additionally, they guide you through the options available for dealing with an insolvent estate. If you choose to file for bankruptcy, the trustee will be there to help you through every step of the process.

The Necessity of Consulting an Expert

If you find yourself dealing with an insolvent estate, it’s advisable to consult a licensed insolvency trustee. They provide necessary guidance to navigate through the process and help evaluate available options.


Dealing with an inherited estate, especially an insolvent one, can be a daunting task. While you may not directly inherit a deceased person’s debts, they do impact the value of the estate you inherit. By understanding your options and seeking professional advice, you can make informed decisions about how to proceed.

Contact Us

If you need help dealing with an inherited estate, our team of experts is ready to guide you. Contact us to discuss your options.

Find Your Personal Debt Relief Solution

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are here to help. Get a free assessment of your options.

Discuss options to get out of debt with a trained & licensed debt relief professional.