When you experience the death of a family member or loved one, one of the last things you ever think about dealing with are the financial realities that the deceased person left behind. In some situations, a deceased person will leave behind significant debt that the family members may feel pressured to pay. This situation is extremely common, and rather unfortunate as grieving people are in a vulnerable state and creditors may take advantage of them. When it comes to the deceased relative’s debts, here’s what you need to know.
You Don’t Have To Pay
Some creditors will try to persuade you that you should pay the debt a deceased person owes. They might try to convince you to pay it outright, or try to get you to adopt the debt as a “chance” or “opportunity” to repay what the deceased family member owed. Don’t listen to them. The deceased person’s debts are not yours, and you don’t have to pay them back. The creditors are trying to convince you to pay because otherwise they would have to file a claim against the estate, a process which may cost them more money than they want to pay.
You Still Owe Joint Debts
The one key exception to the above rule is when you have a joint debt with a deceased person. For example, if you signed as a cosigner to a deceased person’s credit card, you will still be responsible for paying any debt that remains even if you never physically owned the card. However, some creditors may try to convince you that you are responsible even if you are not, so if you’re ever contacted by creditors you should talk to your attorney.