Question & Answers

Can you explain when one is responsible for others debt in death and when he/she is not? Does it depend on your relationship, i.e. spouse or parent, or type of debt? I'm so foggy on this issue and think it is important because I have heard that creditors will get you to pay if they know they can

0 Votes
Dec 12, 2009 by Goldfish
Category: Personal Finance

Michelle Singletary
1 Votes
Michelle Singletary
Dec 14, 2009  
You are not responsible for the debt of relatives -- mama, daddy, sis, brother, Peaches and them -- if you DID NOT CO-SIGN for the debt.

So unless when the relative checked into the hospital or nursing home or whatever, you signed some paperwork saying you would pay the bill, you are not responsible.

The same goes for a mortgage, credit card, and car loan. Unless you are on the note you don't have to pay it.

Now creditors will try to get you to pay it. They did when my brother died. But I simply sent them his death certificate. They could call all they wanted but I wasn't paying. The calls stop after I informed them he had passed away. Of course if the person has an estate (money, value in the home, car, etc.) the estate has to pay the debts with whatever money is left. Or the assets have to be sold to take care of the debts. But don't let a creditor guilt you into paying the debts of a deceased loved one.