Any remaining debt after death is repaid through the deceased's estate, even in the absence of a will. Relatives cannot be held responsible for debts that were not jointly held by them and the deceased prior to the death. There may be extenuating circumstances, such as a loan taken out by the deceased and used by a relative. But as a general rule, payment by relatives is voluntary.
Would you like to find out more about debt after death? Our attorneys are here to help you and your family with this. Contact a wills and trusts lawyer in your area today to discuss the details of your case and explore your options.
There are many more such issues that complicate full and final payment of all debt after death, including:
Credit card debt is a slightly tricky issue. They can seek full repayment of the card balance from the estate and from relatives if the estate funds are insufficient. But under the CARD Act, no penalties can be charged if the estate pays the balance within 30 days of being provided with information about the debt.
The situation gets more complicated when the debts are jointly held by the deceased and a spouse. In this case, the lenders can go after the spouse and have no need to wait for the probate proceedings. For example, mortgage payments may be continued by a spouse or other relatives occupying the house, or they may choose to vacate the premises and let the lender and estate sort it out.
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