When a parent dies, it is not uncommon for them to leave behind some unpaid bills. These might include some unpaid credit card debt or unpaid medical bills that need to be resolved. The estate is responsible for paying back these creditors from any assets the estate may have. If the estate has no assets, however, debt collectors may try to get payment from the children of the deceased. In almost all cases, the children are not personally responsible for any of their parent’s debt.
The only exception to this is if a child co-signs or otherwise guarantees a loan with their parent. If this is the case, then it is, in fact, this child’s responsibility. When this occurs, the child will need to pay back any outstanding debts upon which they have co-signed. If a child cannot afford these payments, it may be time to speak to a bankruptcy attorney to learn your options.
If you have not co-signed on loans and find that creditors are calling you, inform them that the person in question is deceased and that you can forward them a copy of the death certificate. If they continue to contact you, refer them to the executor of the estate. If they still try to collect payment from you, send them a notice in writing (preferably by registered mail) informing them of the death, informing them that they should completely stop all contact with you, and informing them that legal action may be taken if the contact persists.
When a loved one dies, it can create many unexpected financial problems. Maybe this was a grandparent who was watching a child for free. Maybe it was a spouse whose income was counted upon to make ends meet. Suddenly, this money is gone but the bills remain. When this happens, a bankruptcy attorney may be able to help.
At Westbrook Law Group, we know how devastating it can be, both emotionally and financially, when a loved one passes away. We can help you with any debt that may exist, allowing you to focus on recovering emotionally from this loss. To speak with a lawyer about your debt situation, contact Westbrook Law Group today for a free consultation.