Inheriting Debt When Loved Ones Pass Away

Physician's Money Digest, October 2005, Volume 12, Issue 14

If you have a patientwho is elderly or terminallyill and carrying a lot ofcredit card debt, they maybe wondering if it will bepassed on to their childrenwhen they and theirspouse die. According toBankrate.com, your childwill not directly take onyour debt unless theyhappen to be a cosigneron any of your credit cards. Rather,the debt will be paid off by theirestate when they die, in the full amountowed to their creditors. If a parent namestheir estate as the beneficiary of a lifeinsurance policy, then creditors have aright to make a claim for what is owed.However, companies have no legal accessto any money inherited by a child as a beneficiaryof a policy. If the estate can't payoff the debt, then no one other than acosigner will be liable for it. If they have noother assets, their home and possessionsmay be auctioned off to cover the debt,leaving their children in a bad position.