Am I Responsible for My Deceased Parent or Spouse's Bills?

Losing a loved one is always devasting, especially when it is a parent or spouse. Not only do you have to deal with the emotional stress of death, but you must also consider the stress of dealing with your loved one’s financial matters.

Although you may need to handle the financial affairs of your deceased loved one, in Florida most debts are paid by the deceased person’s estate, not a relative. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), surviving family members are not required to pay a deceased loved one’ debts and are protected against collection practices.However, there are some exceptions which include the following:

  • You are a co-signer on a loan – If you and the deceased loved one signed a loan together, you owe the remaining debt.
  • You are a joint account holder – If you open a joint account, you and the other party are equally liable for paying off any incurred debt linked to that specific account.
  • You live in a community property state – If your spouse passes away and you live in a community property state, you may be required to use community property to pay your deceased spouse’s debts. Keep in mind, Florida is not a community property state.

If you are concerned about becoming responsible for your loved one’s debts, our St. Petersburg probate attorney at Finley Williams Law, PA can evaluate your situation, determine all available legal options, and help you obtain the most favorable possible outcome. For more information, contact us and schedule a free consultation today.

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