When a loved one dies, spouses or family members often wonder if they are responsible for that person’s debt. For anyone in Georgia facing this issue, it helps to understand debt after death.
Debt after death
In most cases, the assets in a person’s estate are used to satisfy debts. The personal representative of the deceased person is responsible for making sure assets are distributed according to a will or the law. For example, the personal representative may first pay off the deceased’s debts and then distribute the rest of the assets to beneficiaries or heirs.
Who receives what may depend on whether or not the person left a will and how many details the document contains. Representatives are often named when a person does estate planning with a legal professional.
There may be a few instances when another person shares debt responsibility with the deceased. Joint accounts and cosigned loans are two common examples.
For instance, if the deceased person shared a joint credit line with another family member, that individual still has some responsibility for the debt. The same is true if they bought a car when the decedent was alive and cosigned for the loan.
Also, there may be remaining liability for a deceased spouse’s debts in community property states. However, Georgia is not a community property state. Many people also wonder about student loan debt of spouses. If a spouse who had a federal student loan dies, the loan is discharged.
It is common for spouses or family members to receive debt collection calls after the death of a loved one. If that happens, family members can tell the collectors to contact the personal representative of the deceased.