Someone on Avvo recently asked: "Are heirs financially responsible for liens on parents estate?"
Answer from Ohio Estate Planning Attorney Staten Middleton: "There are multiple issues in your question. I would urge you to contact a lawyer familiar with these issues. There are opportunities to avoid the unsecured debt in a probate estate for assets passing through probate. Also, you have an opportunity to compromise (reduce) the amount owed secured creditors. The person that paid a funeral bill may be entitled to reimbursement ahead of unsecured creditors. Also, the person administering the estate (Executor, Administrator) may be entitled to a fee for that work that would take priority over unsecured claims. I would think you would find after meeting with a knowledgeable lawyer that there are more opportunities than you imagined."