Do My Credit Card Debts End When I Do?

Some things don’t disappear even when you die, including credit card debt.

Although you can’t take your gold MasterCard and black American Express cards with you, the remaining balance you owe can be collected from your estate.

The good news is that your heirs are not responsible for paying the bill. It just means that these types of liabilities come off the top—or are satisfied first—before any bequests or remaining assets are distributed to heirs.

In other words, Newsday’s recent article “Help your heirs avoid having to pay your credit card debt” says, your heirs will pay those cards off indirectly, because money that comes out of the estate means less for them.

In a time of sadness and stress, no family wants to talk to creditors looking to get paid for delinquent balances.

There are a few ways to avoid this situation and to lessen the burden on your family. Let’s look at ways to skip the situation altogether.

Pay off the debt. Of course, since you never know when you might die, keep on top of your expenses. It’s always a best practice. Remember, less or no debt means less or no headaches and frustration for your heirs.

If you do have unpaid debt, be sure your family is familiar with the laws, so they won’t fall victim to dishonest collections agencies and harassing bill collectors.

Make it easy on your heirs. Begin the process with a legally valid will that designates an executor of your estate. That way, there won’t be any arguments or questions about who will be in charge of handling the estate. This way no one has to jump through extra hoops and waste their time and energy to gain access to the estate.

Talk to an estate planning attorney and get some advice. When you visit with an experienced estate planning attorney, make sure that you have a record of all of your up-to-date financial records with all your accounts, assets and liabilities. Make sure the executor of the estate knows where these materials are and how to locate them.

Reference: Newsday (July 14, 2019) “Help your heirs avoid having to pay your credit card debt”

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Wills, Executor, Asset Protection, Probate Court, Inheritance, Probate Attorney, Intestacy, Debt

About the author

Bob Brumfield

Attorney Bob Brumfield has been practicing law since 1984 and regularly receives the “Top Lawyers in California” award as well as the “Client Distinction” and “Client Champion” awards from Martindale-Hubbell.

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