Debts After Death

In order to determine the nature and extent of a deceased person’s estate, it is important to determine the financial position of the deceased. A recent article discusses how to deal with the debt of a loved one after he or she has died.

If the decedent had any credit cards, an important consideration is whether he or she was the sole debtor on the account at the time of his or her death. If the account had either cosigners or joint owners at the time of death, the surviving cosigners or joint owners will be responsible to pay off the debt. Otherwise, the debt must be paid by the decedent’s estate.

Survivors should also consider whether the decedent had taken out any insurance policies on a credit obligation. Often, survivors will be able to speak with a representative from the credit card company directly. Through these conversations, survivors can establish if any accounts were covered by an insurance policy that will pay off the remaining balance of the card upon the decedent’s death. If you plan to make such calls, plan to have several copies of the death certificate available, as a creditor may ask to see it.

The executor of the estate should also call the three major credit bureaus in order to notify them of the death. After such notification, any remaining creditors will have a specified period of time during which to notify the executor of remaining claims to be paid from the estate.

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