My dad recently passed away, is my mother responsible for any of his debts if her name is not listed on the bill? 26 Answers as of October 18, 2012

My dad has a credit card bill in his name and a loan through a credit card in his name. I was wondering if mom is responsible for these or any other debts in his name?

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The Taylor Law Office L.L.C.
The Taylor Law Office L.L.C. | Ian A. Taylor
If a spouse is not on the credit card or loan after the other spouse passes away, there would be no liability for the debt. The estate of the deceased spouse is liable for the debt. If the estate is insolvent (doesn't have enough property to cover the creditors), then the credit card companies should know that. At any rate the probate court and a local attorney can help you determine whether you need to take action with the estate.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 10/18/2012
Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
As California is a community property state any debts incurred by him during the marriage would be community for which his spouse would be liable. You should consult a probate attorney to review all of the facts and advise you as to the liability of the surviving spouse for the debts.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/18/2012
Victor Varga | Victor Varga
No, but his Estate is (if it has any assets).
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 10/18/2012
The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
In Florida, a spouse is not responsible for the decedent spouse's debts, if the surviving spouse has not signed to be responsible. So, if there was a credit card solely in your father's name, and your mother was not on the card and never used the card, then she would not be responsible for the debt.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 10/18/2012
Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski
Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski | Gerald A. Bagazinski
It depends. Are there any assets in the are only in the name of your father? Are there any assets payable to the estate such as a life insurance policy. Assets in a trust can be subject to creditors claims.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/18/2012
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    No your mom is not responsible for your dad's debts, his estate is. An estate is established once probate is filed in Florida. In that estate would be all the decedent's assets. Any debts of the decedent should be paid from the estate. If there are no assets in the estate, certain assets are exempt (the homestead, automobile primarily used by decedent, household furnishings to name a few) and won't be included in the estate as to the value of the estate. Any non-exempt items that are tangible i.e. investments, real property other than homestead, and have value must be sold to satisfy the creditors claims before a distribution of the assets is made to the beneficiaries of the will or heirs if no will is left.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Law Offices of Terrell Monks
    Law Offices of Terrell Monks | Terrell Monks
    In Oklahoma a spouse is responsible for certain medical expenses and a few other basic necessities even if they surviving spouse did not incurr the debt in her own name. Outside these basic necessities, a spouse is generally not responsible for the debts of the other unless they sign an agreement to be responsible.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Martinson & Beason, PC
    Martinson & Beason, PC | Douglas C Martinson II
    She would not be responsible for those bills if they were just in his name. That will not stop the bill collectors from harassing her. I get this a lot and the best thing to do is to have an attorney send them a letter and that way they cannot call your mother and will have to talk to the attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    I am sorry to hear of your loss. Your father's estate is responsible for the debt. Do your parents live in California Did your father have any property that would be considered his separate property By default, your mother "inherited" all of the community property. However, you father's separate property, if any, would need to be probated and subject to the debts he incurred. You may want to schedule an appointment with a local probate attorney to have your father's estate reviewed to determine whether the creditor's have a chance of getting paid.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    Your father's estate is responsible for his debts. No one else must pay the debt unless they agree to do so. Barry Your financial plan is not complete until it is co-ordinates with your estate plan. Will your family be provided for when you are gone? Without a Will, the court will decide.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    No, if the debt is only in your father's name.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    The Center for Elder Law
    The Center for Elder Law | Don Rosenberg
    If a spouse is not a joint obligatory on the credit card then there is no liability to the surviving spouse. However, if there is a probate administration then creditor are required to be notified and can be paid.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    If they were community debts, then she is responsible.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    Generally if she is not named, she does not owe the debts.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
    In Maryland, the surviving spouse (mom) may not be personally liable/responsible for the decedent's (dad) individual debts, but the estate may be, especially if there is a timely filed claim against the estate. Although mom's name is not listed on the bill, did she ever sign anything to become a co-debtor with dad?
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Difficult question: a spouse may be responsible for "expenses of the family." If the credit cards were used for family expenses, then yes. Also, anyone who inherits property is responsible for debt to the extent of the value they inherit (so if Mom now owns all of the house, because she inherited his half).
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    See an attorney, it is possible she is not liable for your dad's individual debts (but his estate would be). Seek counsel. Have her sign NOTHING.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    I am very sorry for your loss! If your mother was not on the credit card account and did not agree to pay on it, then she would not be personally responsible for the debt. If there are secured creditors, such as a mortgage company or car financing company, then the debts would need to be paid or the asset could be foreclosed on or repossessed. If your mother is being harassed by bill collectors, she can contact an attorney to represent her. Once the creditor is made aware that there is an attorney involved, they cannot contact your mother or they are liable for significant damages under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. It is often worth hiring an attorney for a nominal fee, for this reason alone.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    It depends on whether you live in a community property state. Did he pass away without a will?
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    No, but any real or personal property he owned (whether he owned it alone or with someone else) would have to be sold to pay his creditors. If not then creditors can come after the person who ended up with his property.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    No your mother is not responsible for your deceased father's debts, and tell her not to let anyone talk her into that.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Law Office of Craig M. Parker, PC | Craig M. Parker
    In California, most debts acquired during marriage are community debts and both spouses are responsible for those debts, even after the death of one spouse. There are narrow exceptions, but you must establish that the debt was separate debt and not a debt of the community.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq.
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq. | Neil J. Lehto
    His estate is responsible for payment of his debts - before they can be paid or delivered to your mother. Much of his estate may have passed automatically to her upon his death as jointly owned. So, there may not be anything in his estate with which to pay. Otherwise, she is not responsible for his debts.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Richard E. Damon, PC | Richard E. Damon
    These are probably community debts if incurred during marriage.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston | Edwin Fee
    Your mother is not personally responsible for your father's debts (unless she somehow agreed to be responsible, such as by co-signing a loan). Your father's estate (to the extent there is one) would be responsible for his debt.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 10/17/2012
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