Handling Unpaid Debts After Your Parents Are Deceased: How Inherited Debt May Require A Bankruptcy Attorney

Not everyone is fortunate enough to pass away and leave no debts behind. If your parents had multiple unpaid credit cards and/or loans, you might be left to clear up things with your parents' creditors. Some creditors are willing to release the debt and write if off if you can produce a death certificate, but other creditors may insist on the liquidation of any assets and payments to the debt owed. Sometimes these debts are so large that a liquidation of assets is not enough to eliminate them. You will need the help of a bankruptcy attorney to rid you and your siblings of your deceased parents' debt responsibilities.

Deciphering What Debts You Must Pay and What Debts Are Strictly Your Parents'

It should be made clear that you should not be responsible for your parents' debts, unless those debts included P.L.U.S. loans for your college education. These loans are signed by both you and your parents, acknowledging a debt you all agreed to pay, and if any of the balance remains when your parents have both passed away, the debt falls to you. Any other debts to which you put your signature for with your parents you may also have to pay. Otherwise, all of your parents' debts will need to be settled with a bankruptcy lawyer's help.

Dissolving Post-Mortem Debts

Creditors do have the option to pursue payment of debts after creditors are deceased. They can sue surviving family members for any inheritance or assets that were left to the debtors' offspring. However, if nothing of value was left to you and your siblings, you can file a post-mortem bankruptcy in your parents' names. The bankruptcty attorney will attempt to dissolve your parents' debts post-mortem by arguing that the responsibility lies solely with the deceased and because your parents are deceased, it absolves them of the debt as well. Death certificates are necessary to prove to the judge that your parents are no longer living, breathing entities that the creditors can pursue.

Handling Unknown Debts

On a rare occasion, you might discover a debt your parents had that you did not know existed and you did not include in the original post-mortem bankruptcy proceedings. If that is the case, the bankruptcy attorney can still address this problem with the newly discovered creditor. Most times, these creditors are just learning themselves that their debtors are deceased, but are willing to sign off on the debt once your lawyer has made contact and provided the paperwork showing a post-mortem bankruptcy was filed and the copies of your parents' death certificates.

Contact an attorney like Thomas A Blake for more details.