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What Happens To Credit Card Debt After You Die?

Have you ever wondered what will happen to your debt after you die? Luckily, you will not be carrying it forward to your heavenly abode but you will be leaving it behind for your family with the burden.

Debts are Inherited!

Much alike properties, debts too are inherited! Any kind of debt that is left behind will only be a headache for the descendants and much depends on how you have planned for the debts after your demise and also on how the family will handle the debt settlement after death.

So, if you are wondering what will happen to your credit card debt or the expensive car that you have bought, then read on to know more about what you will be leaving behind for your family to handle.

Possible Outcomes

It is a common belief that there will be debt forgiveness after death, but that is not the case in each and every type of debt. Here are some of the possible outcomes if you pass away while holding credit card debts.

  • In case of credit card debts, if the credit card owner is a sole applicant and if he/she owns any property, stocks or other funds, then these can be sold to clear of the debt, the balance if any, will be handed over to the surviving family.
  • In case the credit card holder does not have enough assets, which could be sold to pay for the debts, the lenders would find themselves in troubled waters, as they have to write off the unpaid debt amount and mark it as a loss.
  • A non-probate property assigned directly to the heirs of the deceased will not be available to the creditors to retrieve the debt.
  • Some assets will have a designated beneficiary, which is a specific set of instructions that is associated with any property on how to handle these assets in the event of demise of the owner. Such assets cannot be considered by a creditor company to claim any debt that is due to them from the owner.
  • Even in the case of a joint tenancy, in which two individuals can be owners, the surviving owner gets 100% ownership the moment the other owner passes away. This type of property too cannot be sold to reclaim any debt owed bythe deceased.
  • If the property owned is a community property, then the finances of the spouses are merged and there will be a liability of the spouse to clear the debtsowed by their better half.

In some cases, there may also be a possibility of negotiating credit card debt after death of a family member. It depends on the creditor and the descendant who is handling the credit card formalities.

It is important that the descendant, with the help of an attorney, intimate or write a letter to credit card company after death of the card owner. Only a good local estate planning attorney will be able to help and ensure that the heirs get what was assigned to them.