What if your debts exceed your estate's assets?
State statute will direct who gets paid and how much. An insolvent probate is like a bankruptcy with the unpaid balances being written off by the creditors. On joint accounts, the creditors can generally collect from any joint account holder. Often, the best course of action on an insolvent estate is to turn it over to an attorney or to the court public administrator (if the court has one).
The best course of action is to take your time, ask questions, figure out what your specific situation is and then proceed with caution. It's not like you hae tons of experience with losing a spouse and the fall out from that. Take your time. (to be continued...)