If you have an aging family member who has a large amount of debt, you may worry about their financial situation and want to help them in any way that you can. You may also worry that you will need to pay back their debts if they pass away, especially if you are co-signed with some of their accounts.
If you are concerned about your liability for another person’s debts, it is important that you take the time to get a full understanding of the law. Doing so will likely put you at ease and help you to feel that you have more control over the situation. While family members do not inherit debts in the same way that they would inherit assets, there are some situations in which a loved one may take on the debts of a deceased person. The following is an overview of the times in which this would be the case.
When you are the deceased person’s spouse in a community property state
Florida is not a community property state. However, in other states that follow community property laws, spouses can be responsible for marital debts when their partner dies.
When you are co-signed for a loan
If the deceased person has a loan and you are co-signed on the loan, you will be liable for this loan.
When you are joint account holders
If you are a joint account holder with the deceased person and they incurred debt on this account, you will be responsible for this debt.
Know your rights
Unfortunately, debt collectors can mislead those who are grieving the loss of a loved one and convince them that they are liable for the debts left behind. Before paying any debt collectors, take the time to fully understand the situation.
If you are unsure of what debts you owe after the loss of a loved one, it is important that you conduct thorough research and gain an overview of the estate.