Am I Liable for a Spouse's Debt After Death? | Monroe Township - Middlesex County
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Am I Liable for a Spouse’s Debt After Death?

October 23, 2018

Filed under: Finances — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

If you recently got remarried and you have joint ownership of your home and a joint bank account, you might suddenly discover that your new spouse is making payments toward unpaid taxes and credit card debt. Understanding how this affects your estate planning, as well as your life after this person, passes away is important. 

You are typically not liable for debts that were incurred by your spouse prior to marriage. After your spouse passes away, the debt becomes the responsibility of that person’s estate. State laws may require you to pay debts out of the spouse’s property if you were named as the administrator or executor of the estate and this can include joint assets such as real estate and bank accounts.

It may be a good idea for you to keep your individual real estate holdings and bank accounts separate from your husband. Discussing estate planning tools and options with a knowledgeable attorney is strongly recommended if you want to outline your own plans for the future. The support of an experienced estate planning lawyer is instrumental in outlining what you intend to accomplish and helping you to understand your various roles and responsibilities. Failing to keep in touch with your estate planning lawyer as your life circumstances change could be a big mistake. For example, increasingly people are experiencing a phenomenon known as grey divorce or getting remarried or divorced in their older years. This can have significant estate planning repercussions if you don’t involve your lawyer in the planning process and the revision of your estate planning documents as needed. An attorney is a vital component of your overall strategy.

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