If I co-sign for someone and they are not paying the bill, and has admitted that it is their debt, am I still legally responsible? 31 Answers as of November 09, 2012

They agreed to pay the bill and I do not want to be responsible for their debt.

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Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr.
Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr. | John C. Farrell, Jr.
Despite the good intentions of the other, the fact that you co-signed made you responsible for the debt. It should be your priority to make sure that this other person pays off the debt as soon as possible and that s/he stays current. You should then try to close the account or get your name removed, if possible.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 8/10/2012
Austin Hirschhorn, P.C.
Austin Hirschhorn, P.C. | Austin Hirschhorn
As a cosigner on an obligation you are as responsible for the debt as the borrower. Even if the borrower admits responsibility for the debt that does not relieve you from the obligation to pay. The creditor can pick and choose who it wants to collect from and if you are the easier target they may select you as the collection target. This would leave you in the position of having to go back to the borrower for reimbursement.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/10/2012
Park Law Offices LLC | Kevin Parks
Most likely, the answer is "yes" that is what co-signing is all about, i.e. signing off on your personal liability for the debts, obligations, or other liabilities of another, and in that way it secures the rights of the creditor against multiple debtors. You might well have a claim against the other individual debtor as well, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the creditor doesn't have claims available against you. Thus, some words of caution: one should not freely execute an agreement as a co-signor absent circumstances in which one can be assured that repayment will be made.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 8/10/2012
Slotnick & Schwartz
Slotnick & Schwartz | Leonard T. Schwartz
Yes. You are still legally responsible for the payment of the bill. A co-signer is really no different legally than the person incurring the debt.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 8/10/2012
Patterson Johnson-Stovall & Crenshaw PLLC | Joyce Johnson-Stovall
You are both liable since you "co signed" for the debt. If they don't pay and you don't pay, both of you will get sued.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 8/10/2012
    Walpole Law | Robert J. Walpole
    When you co-sign with another on a promise to pay a debt, you become liable for the full debt. Consider this scenario, you co-sign on a promissory note so that another can get a car. Imagine that person wrecks it and does not have insurance and/or won't pay for it and/or then files bankruptcy, you would be responsible for the outstanding debt, which will affect you credit rating, and, if a lawsuit were filed, you would also become liable for court costs and the creditor's attorney fees. Except for a close family member, one should nolt co-sign on anything.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    Yes, If you co sign and the primary borrowed fails to pay, you must pay. If not you also can be sued.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Bensamochan & Poghosyan LLP | Eric Bensamochan
    The short answer is yes, you are liable for the debt as a co-signor.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Benjamin D Gordon, Attorney at Law
    Benjamin D Gordon, Attorney at Law | Benjamin D Gordon
    If you co-sign, you are liable for the debt. To co-sign is to promise the creditor that you will repay the debt if the main debtor fails to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    R. Steven Chambers PLLC | R. Steven Chambers PLLC
    Yes, that is exactly what becoming a co-signer means. Not only is it the other person's debt but it is yours as well.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 11/9/2012
    Douglas M. Philpott, P.C. | Peter J. Philpott
    Yes your just as liable.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
    When you co-signed for the debt you agreed to be equally liable for it. If the primary debtor does not pay, the lender can look to you to satisfy the debt. This is a good lesson in life, don't co-sign unless you are willing to pay the debt.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    LAW OFFICE OF JEFFREY Z DWORIN
    LAW OFFICE OF JEFFREY Z DWORIN | JEFFREY Z DWORIN
    Co-signing refers to either signing a guarantee, or agreeing to be a co-debtor. Either way, you are fully responsible. You knew it was the other party's debt when you agreed to pay it. The only way out is bankruptcy. You may also ask the creditor if you can re-instate the lone - i.e. make past due payments - which will be better if your friend will start paying again.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    Yes, you are responsible as far as the creditor is concerned. You could always cross-claim against your friend to make him/her responsible as well.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Olson Law Firm | Edward M Olson
    Yes. If you co-signed... you are fully and equally liable for the debt.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Harris, Yug & Ohlinger
    Harris, Yug & Ohlinger | Roberta Ohlinger-Johnson
    Unfortunately, you co-signed. A co-signor guarantees repayment if the primary obligor defaults. In English, that means you've agreed to repay if they don't. It's a binding, legal agreement.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Gary A. Russell
    If you co-signed the loan then you agreed to be just as liable for the debt. If the lender comes after you, your only recourse is to sue the other person.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Marc S. Stern
    Marc S. Stern | Marc S. Stern
    Co-signing means that you are responsible for the debt. The creditor will look to you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    MatthewR. Schutz, Esq | Matthew R. Schutz
    If you cosign then you agree to pay if the primary debtor defaults. Whether or not they acknowledge the debt is not relevant. You would have go after the primary debtor.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Frisby Law Firm | Matthew Frisby
    Short answer to your question is Yes, you will likely be responsible for the debt if the borrower defaults. However, you should have a qualified attorney review the contract or the loan agreement. Most loans will have a notice that says something to this effect: "You are being asked to guarantee this debt. Think carefully before you do. If the borrower does not pay the debt, you will have to. Be sure you can afford to pay if you have to, and that you want to accept this responsibility. You may have to pay up to the full amount of the debt if the borrower does not pay. You may also have to pay late fees or collection costs, which increase this amount. The creditor can collect this debt from you without first trying to collect from the borrower.* The creditor can use the same collection methods against you that can be used against the borrower, such as suing you, garnishing your wages, etc. If this debt is ever in default, that fact may become a part of your credit record. This notice is not the contract that makes you liable for the debt." An attorney will review the loan documents and give you an opinion on your liability.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Halperin Law Offices | Ivan Halperin
    Sad news: if you co-sign it means that you've guaranteed their debt. If they don't pay the creditor can (and will) come after you. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    The Smalley Law Firm, LLC | Cary Smalley
    Yes, if you co-signed you are liable for the debt.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Andrew D. Campbell, Attorney at Law | Andrew D. Campbell
    Yes. If you co-sign a loan or note on behalf of someone else, you are what is called a guarantor of the debt. Guarantors are liable the same way the principal debtor is liable. In some cases, the creditor can actually pursue collection from the guarantor immediately upon default by the principal debtor, without attempting to collect from the debtor first. This depends on the type of instrument you have co-signed. As for your ability to remove yourself as a guarantor, your guarantee agreement is not between you and the debtor, it is between you and the creditor. What this means is that the debtor cannot release you from your guarantee obligations, even by agreeing to assume the entire obligation. You have to get a discharge from the creditor, sometimes called a "novation." Most of the time, creditors (especially big banks) have no incentive to release a guarantor and thus will not entertain any such agreement. That said, there are certain other remedies you may have including the following: 1. If there has been any material change to the instrument you co- signed with the creditor, which was made after you co-signed the instrument and which was made without your knowledge or consent, you can attempt to obtain a release of your obligations on these grounds. For example, a change in the amount of the principal payment or the length of the obligation are both material terms. 2. In certain instruments including promissory notes for student loans, there are provisions which provide for release of the co-signer after the principal debtor makes on-time payments for a specified period of time (usually several years or more). Check the language of the instrument for such provisions. 3. Finally, if the creditor obtains a judgment against you, you may have the right to seek indemnification from the principal debtor depending on the terms of the instrument. Meaning that you can recover some or all of the amount which you pay to the creditor by filing a cross claim against the debtor. You may have to pay, but you could end up recouping some of that from him or her.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    If you co-signed you are legally bound to pay the bill.. that is what co-signing does.. it puts you on the hook.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Offices of David M. Blain
    Law Offices of David M. Blain | David Blain
    Yes, that's why the creditor had you co-sign. It doesn't matter that you don't want to be responsible for the other persons debt or that the other person has acknowledged it is their sole debt. You signed the contract to be legally responsible for the debt. Whenever someone asks you to co-sign, assume they will default on the debt and that the creditor will come after you. If you are ok with this happening, then go ahead and co-sign.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    Yes, you are legally responsible, untill the debt is paid off, discharged or your are personally discharged in a bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    If you co signed then you are equally liable for that debt.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Neuhaus Law Office
    Neuhaus Law Office | Gregory M. Neuhaus
    If one does not want to be responsible for another's debt, that person should not co-sign. Of course you are going to be liable. That is what a co-signer is for.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    If you co-signed you are liable. That is why the lender wanted a co-signer.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A.
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A. | Diane L. Drain
    Normally, if you guaranteed the debt you are responsible. A co-signed loan is normally a guaranty.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    James T. Dunn PC | James T. Dunn
    YES! That is why the creditor asked you to co-sign, so they would have another person to chase for the debt.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/9/2012
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