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

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2021 | Probate And Estate Administration |

Losing a parent is hard enough, but you may feel even more stressed if you also have to figure out how to tie up the financial loose ends he or she might have left behind. If your mother or father left debt behind and did not have enough assets to cover it, you may question whether you are responsible for it.

According to U.S. News and World Report, many of Pennsylvania’s older adults have considerable debt, and it often comes in the form of a mortgage or credit card balance. About half of all older adults who die also have less than $10,000 to their names, making them unable to cover some or all their remaining debts.

Responding to creditors

Unless your situation meets one of several specific circumstances, you are probably not liable for the credit card debt, mortgage debt or similar debts your parent leaves behind. Creditors may try to make you feel as if paying your parent’s debt is the “right” thing to do, but you have no legal obligation to do so in most cases.

Recognizing when you are liable

The only instances where you may be on the hook for a deceased parent’s debt is if you either applied for a loan together or co-signed on a particular debt with your parent. In the absence of either of these circumstances, you likely do not have to cover your parent’s debt.

Navigating a deceased parent’s estate is complex. When it comes to a deceased parent’s debts, try not to let creditors coerce you into paying a debt to which you have no legal responsibility.