Your beloved has died and his creditor puts a lien and judgment against him

You are very upset at the sad demise of your beloved one in your family. And the most saddest part is you receive a letter in your mailbox about the creditors suing your beloved for his past debt. What will you do in a situation like this? Are you supposed to pay his debts to avoid the legal actions?

Well, the short answer is NO. You are not supposed to pay for someone else’s debts. The debts will be forgiven by the credit card companies once they come to know about the death of the concerned person. However, they may be certain scenarios in which the debts of the deceased person can still be passed on to his family members and they may be forced to pay it.


If you have a joint account with another person who has already died, then the creditors will force you to pay up for the deceased person’s debts.

If you are living in one of the community property state, then the laws may force one of the spouse to pay the debts of the deceased person. Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin are all community property states.

In a community property state, the laws are very strict. The property in a marriage is recognized to be joint, liabilities are also treated as joint as per the laws. Therefore, if one of the spouse has died, it is important to speak with the local officials to see what can be done regarding the credit card debts that your spouse had before his death.

If you are not living in any of the community property state, and you have a joint account with someone, you will still be liable to pay his debts after his death. All the assets and liabilities will be put into an estate. The credit card companies will try to recover their money from the estate of the deceased person. Once there is nothing left in the estate, the credit card companies will forgive the remaining balance. Because of this procedure, the family members will receive very little or nothing in terms of inheritance if the deceased person had debts to the credit card companies.

Helpful Resources:

http://www.irs.gov/irm/part25/irm_25-018-001.html

http://www.irs.gov/irm/part25/irm_25-015-005.html