Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Death and Debt

This is a terrible and misleading article and I want to set the record straight regarding debts and death:

1. If your loved one dies (who is not your spouse) and the loved one leaves behind debt, the survivors are NOT responsible for that debt; rather, the estate of the deceased is responsible.  It is important to note that the deceased cannot avoid the debts by giving his assets to his heirs through beneficiary designation, joint tenancy, or similar device.  The deceased will not escape those debts and creditors may, under the right circumstance, reach into funds transferred in that manner.    

2.  If your spouse dies and leaves behind debt, the spouse is frequently, but not always, responsible for the debt.  For example, the spouse leaves a credit card in his name but not in the spouse's name, the surviving spouse may be found responsible for the debt. A spouse should seek counsel regarding the debt from a qualified attorney because the issues are seldom clear.