A death is always heartbreaking and often sudden. Usually, it throws your world up over its head, especially if it involves your parents. Almost everyone knows their parents’ spending practices pretty well, so the passing of one may become a cause of extra concern. That extra concern is rooted in this simple question – “Will I inherit my parents’ debt?
The quick answer is no, you probably will not inherit any of your parents’ debt.
But, as usual, there are a couple of exceptions.
Possible Debt Inheritance
The first debt which is likely to be inherited is a mortgage or home equity loan. It is somewhat typical to inherit a house from deceased relatives, especially parents. Hopefully, that house is all paid off when you do inherit it, otherwise, once it is yours, you are on the hook for payments. Even if it is your plan to sell the house, you must stay up to date with any payments on the house until it is sold. So be aware if your parents plan on leaving a house to you, otherwise, your lodging expenses might jump at a very poor time.
Another debt you may inherit is co signed debts. This is typically for a loan or credit card agreement. If you already agreed to be responsible for the payment, then upon the death of one party the responsibility will fall squarely on you.
Joint debt is also possible to be inherited. While joint debt sounds similar to co signed debts, the difference is that joint debts are issued based on the combined income and assets of the two parties. With you being the surviving member, the debt responsibility will fall on you.
Community property debts are also possible to become inherited. According to Debt.org, if you are married and live in one of the nine states which have community property laws, the surviving spouse must repay all debts acquired during the marriage. Clearly, this is not intended to hit you directly by being your parents’ child. However, community property is unique and not in every state and you should be aware of a possible situation where you ended up inheriting a debt from another parent that you were not aware of.
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