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Are you legally responsible for a deceased parent’s debts?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2022 | Estate Administration |

A parent’s death has the potential to cause you emotional turmoil, and you may feel even more anxious and out-of-sorts if you also have the responsibility of managing and settling your parent’s Florida estate. If your parent dies with significant debts that his or her estate is unable to cover, you may also face added stresses in the form of creditors calling to try to collect what your dead parent owes.

Per U.S. News and World Reports, debt collectors may tell you that you have a legal or ethical obligation to take care of your parent’s outstanding debts after he or she passes. However, in many situations, this is not actually the case.

When you are on the hook for a parent’s debts

Most of the time, you do not have a legal responsibility to pay off a deceased parent’s outstanding debts. However, there are several key exceptions. If you co-signed on a loan your deceased parent took out, or if you applied for credit together with your parent and your parent never took care of things, you may be on the hook for these expenses. Unless your name appears on the account, though, you typically do not have to pay a deceased parent’s debts.

What to tell debt collectors who harass you

Do not expect debt collectors to tell you if you are not responsible for your parent’s outstanding bills. Rather than allow debt collectors to exploit your desire to take care of things the right way, tell them you either have no legal obligation to pay your parent’s debts or that you need to hang up and take some time to think things through before making any moves.

Losing a parent is hard enough – do not let others “trick” you into paying anything that is not your legal responsibility.