If your parents die broke, are you liable for their debts?

For many people across Florida, watching the health of a parent deteriorate can prove immensely painful and difficult, and losing that parent often proves even more so. If you are also fielding calls from creditors looking to collect on the debts your parent left behind, you may be just about at your wit’s end, but it is important that you recognize the importance of second-guessing anything a debt collector tells you during this timeframe.

Why? According to U.S. News & World Report, it is not at all uncommon for a debt collector to attempt to call children of the deceased and make them feel as if they have an obligation to pay off the deceased parent’s debts. Do you actually have such an obligation, though, and are you truly on the hook for any outstanding debts your parents left behind and are unable to cover through their estates?

The goods news is, in most cases, you are probably not a responsible party. A debt collector just wants to collect what your deceased loved one owed him or her, however, so do not expect one to tell you this. While, in most cases, you are not financially liable for the debts your parent leaves behind, there are several exceptions.

If you and your deceased parent have a shared credit card, or if you took out a loan together using both of your names, you may ultimately have to pay off those debts. Otherwise, you probably are not financially responsible for your deceased parent’s debts, regardless of what the debt collector says.

This information is for educational purposes and is not legal advice.