Executors and Administrators of deceased estates are referred to as Personal Representatives.
Personal Representatives have the responsibility of paying the deceased’s debts out of the deceased’s assets which come into the estate. They are liable for the payment of debts to the extent of the assets which come into the estate.
If the Personal Representative distributes the estate without paying the debts, then the Personal Representative may be held personally liable for the payment of such debt. The Personal Representative has a duty not to pay claims which the estate is not bound to pay and if the Personal Representative does, then again they may be held personally liable.
Not all assets will fall into the estate and thus are not to be applied towards payment of estate debts. The Succession Act can provide Legal Representatives considerable protection. It is important that the Personal Representative is provided with sound advices in these regards.