Settling a Deceased Spouse’s Debts

Deceased Spouse's Debts


We deal with traditional planning as well as crisis planning. And many of our clients are in an estate administration. So we’re settling up the affairs after a loved one passes away. And unfortunately, there can be some debt involved. If it’s a secure debt, like a mortgage or a note, that can be the responsibility of the surviving spouse. If it’s an unsecured debt, mostly like a credit card or even a health or medical expense, that is not the responsibility of the surviving spouse.

You have to know the rules because the debt collectors are very aggressive, but there is the Fair Debt Collections and Practices Act, which gives you some protection, so make sure you know the rules of that act. They cannot call you repeatedly if you notify them not to. They have to continue contacting you in writing. And it doesn’t mean you owe the debt, to have to sue to get it, and it doesn’t mean the judgment would hold. But be careful if you have debt collectors. Make sure your advisors walk you through the practice.