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Who is Responsible for Paying Debts After Death in California?

Are you wondering who is responsible for paying your debts after you die, or if you will be responsible for a loved one's debts after they pass? This is not an uncommon concern, and aggressive debt collectors can take advantage of you or your loved ones if you are uninformed about who is responsible for debts after death.

Debt collectors often count on family members feeling a sense of responsibility for their loved one's debt. However, according to the Federal Trade Commission, the estate of the decedent is generally responsible for the debt. Unless the debtor was your spouse - or you co-signed a loan or held a joint account with the decedent -- the estate should be responsible for paying all debts. If the estate is unable to do so, the debts will go uncollected.

However, if you are the spouse of the deceased debtor, you may be responsible for the debt. California is a community property state, so debts incurred by one spouse may be considered the liability of the surviving spouse, even if his or her name was not on the account. If you co-signed a loan, you will likely be responsible as well, although a debt collector will have to go through the California probate process to collect the debt.

The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0042.

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