What happens to debts upon death?

600831-credit-card-traps-300x169.jpgWhile assisting clients with both estate planning and probate, the question is regularly asked, "What happens to debts or credit card accounts upon the death of the primary owner of the account?" When an individual dies, the creditors of the deceased are required to be notified, including credit reporting agencies. The person that is generally responsible to accomplish this task is the personal representative, administrator, or executor of the estate. The administrator should send copies of the death certificate to the creditors and the three main credit-reporting agencies. If the credit account was a "joint account" or had a co-signer, the responsibility for payment shifts to the surviving owner. In some situations, credit accounts that were owned solely by the deceased may not shift liability to others. However, there are exceptions to this general rule for states like Texas that are community property states. A surviving spouse might be considered liable for the debts of deceased even if they were not aware of account. While it is important to talk with your attorney regarding your assets when updating your estate plan, it is just as important to consider the impact of debts on the survivors as well.

For more, click on this link to read the full article by Lucy Lazarony.

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