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Will I be responsible for a parent’s debt?

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2019 | Probate |

Thinking about the future passing of an aging parent can be extremely difficult. You may also wonder about the state of their financial affairs and what will happen after they’re gone. This uncertainty is not uncommon. Elderly care and medical bills can quickly add up, and it can be frightening to wonder if that debt will land on your shoulders.

How Minnesota handles debt after death

Luckily, debt a parent accrued will seldom become the responsibility of their child. The main reason that a child would need to pay all, or part, of a parent’s debt is because they are jointly listed.

Usually, the estate will pay back any outstanding debt before distributing the remaining assets per the deceased’s will. If the estate lacks the funds to pay back what it owes entirely, then lenders will look for other means of recovering their money if possible.

Here are some of the common types of debt people carry and what happens after death:

  • Credit card debt: This debt is almost always a loss for the credit card company. Unless a living spouse is on their account, no one else is responsible for the bills.
  • Healthcare & nursing home debt: Some states have filial responsibility laws. That means that working children are financially responsible for the care of their impoverished parents. Minnesota does not currently have any filial responsibility laws, but this could impact you if your parent is living out of state. A nursing home or healthcare facility may have legal standing to sue you to recover money owed to them.
  • Mortgages: The person who inherits the house will usually need to take over making payments or sell the property to pay off the mortgage.