Planning Ahead

questions & answers

Question: When a spouse passes away and has debt in his/her name only, like credit cards, and or contractual obligations for satellite services or cell phone service that charge fee for early termination, etc.- is the remaining spouse responsble for that debt and fulfilling contractual obligation?

Answer: Typically, if the debt was accrued during the marriage and there is no premarital agreement, the debt is a community debt, regardless of how it is titled. In that case, typically, the deceased spouse's 1/2 community interest would be liable for paying the debt. If the individual signed a personal guarantee and signed as the only guarantor, the sole and separate property of the deceased spouse and 1/2 of the community property would be responsible. Usually creditors are more than willing to negotiate the amount of the debt once one spouse dies.

QUESTIONS

  • When a spouse passes away and has debt in his/her name only, like credit cards, and or contractual obligations for satellite services or cell phone service that charge fee for early termination, etc.- is the remaining spouse responsble for that debt and fulfilling contractual obligation?

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