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Phil Cannella set out to explain what happens to left over debt that comes following the death of a family member, spouses, ex-spouses, and even adult children find themselves with a surprise inheritance.
Phil Cannella explains that when a person dies, their estate pays credit card balances and other debts. If a person dies with more debts than assets to pay them, creditors can be out of luck—and often are. But there are exceptions that could leave you on the hook for someone else’s credit card balance after that person’s death. If you’re a joint cardholder, meaning you co-signed for the credit card, you’re liable for the debt. Parents sometimes do this for children who are just starting out, or adult children will co-sign with their elderly parents, perhaps to keep track of expenses.
“If you’re only an authorized user, you’re not liable when the cardholder dies. If you co-signed as a joint cardholder, then you just a new credit card debt. Sometimes people can be on a credit card and not even know it. It can happen sometimes when the deceased fills out a credit card application. These accounts show up years later, at the time of a death or divorce. Check your credit card reports regularly. Resolve it before the person dies or divorces you,” said Phil Cannella at one of his Crash Proof Retirement Educational Events.