You’ve heard the old saying: The only sure things in life are death and taxes. As it turns out, the former raises nearly as many financial questions as the latter. As you contemplate your family’s future, it’s worth asking who will be responsible for your debts after your death. If you’ve recently lost a loved one, this matter is likely to take on even more urgency.
Debts That Are Commonly Left Behind
Deceased individuals can leave many different types of debt behind when they die. These include:
- Old credit card debts
- Car loans
- Business debts
- Personal lines of credit
- Medical bills
- Student debts
Among older individuals, credit card debts and medical bills are the most common forms of posthumous debt.
What Does Indiana Law Say?
In most states, including Indiana, heirs to a deceased individual can’t inherit his or her debts. However, the means by which posthumous debts are settles depends on the type of debt and the nature of the agreement that the borrower signed. If you co-signed for a specific debt or guaranteed a loan, you may be held responsible for its timely payment.
Creditors’ Tricks and Tactics
Although surviving spouses and family members aren’t typically responsible for paying off deceased loved ones’ debts, sometimes creditors attempt to convince them otherwise. If you receive phone calls, emails or other forms of contact from creditors or collection agencies in the aftermath of your loved one’s death, don’t feel obligated to respond. The probate process is specifically designed to handle these matters.
Looking to the Probate Process
When an individual dies, his or her estate may enter probate. This is a legal process that allows for the division of his or her assets among his or her creditors and heirs. If any assets remain after payment of allowable claims, they’re divided among the heirs in accordance with the decedent’s will or by statute if there is no will.
An Indianapolis, IN, Law Firm That Understands Debt and Death
Dealing with a deceased loved one’s debts can be a painful process, but you don’t have to go it alone. The law provides clear protections for surviving spouses and family members, and you’re not required to bow to pressure from creditors or debt collectors. If you’d like to learn more about your rights under Indiana law or determine how best to respond to your loved one’s creditors, the experienced attorneys at Garrison Law Firm are here to help. Visit our website or call (317) 842-8283 for a consultation today.