Am I Responsible For My Spouse’s Debt After Death?
If you are the spouse of someone who died, there are a few things that you should know about the debts that your spouse had, such as whether you are responsible for them. In some cases, you will not, but it is important to understand what your rights are and what to do about it.
Community property states
If you are married and you owe taxes, you may be wondering if you are responsible for your spouse’s debt after his or her death. The answer depends on the community property states that you are in.
Community property states consider the debts of both spouses equally. They hold both spouses accountable for the debts they have acquired during marriage. Oftentimes, the surviving spouse may be required to pay their spouse’s unpaid medical bills.
Some community property states also require that a couple divide their assets in a divorce. This can complicate the ownership of investment income and Social Security benefits.
Other states, like Alaska, allow a spouse to designate some assets as community property. However, if the property is not purchased during the marriage, it may not be considered community property. In this case, a debt collector can reach the liable spouse’s interest in the separate property.
The IRS will attach a tax lien to the liable spouse’s interest in community property. That’s because the liable spouse has half of the interest.
You can send the debt collector a copy of the decedent’s death certificate. It’s also a good idea to ask them to stop contacting you.
You should also keep a copy of the request. Debt collectors will try to pressure you to repay your spouse’s debts, even if you are not legally liable for them.
Medical bills you owe
When you or a loved one passes away, there may be medical bills you owe. This can be a stressful time, but it is important to know what you can do about it.
There are several different ways to get your medical bill paid. You can contact the creditor, file a dispute, or even try to negotiate the bill. The best way to go about this is to keep records of all communications. If you want, you can use a professional debt settlement company to help you.
When you or a loved one dies, you should notify creditors about the passing. You should also be prepared to provide a death certificate.
Credit bureaus usually flag a deceased person’s credit report to prevent fraudulent activity. Depending on your state, you might have an obligation to pay a deceased’s medical bills.
If you are concerned about your debt, you should research your state’s laws. You can also consult an estate law attorney. These attorneys can offer free legal advice. They can work to waive fees, and may also be able to allow you to deduct your medical expenses on taxes.
After you have established your liability, you should start the settlement process. If you are dealing with a collection agency, it might be more difficult to negotiate your bill.
Reapplying for credit after death
When your loved one passes away, you may have to deal with the credit card companies and debt collectors. While you can’t legally close the joint accounts, you can decide if you would like to reapply for a new line of credit.
First, you will want to see what is on your loved one’s credit report. If you have joint accounts, you will want to continue making payments. Credit agencies have a system in place to alert you to any account that is being reported as fraudulent.
The best way to do this is to request a copy of your loved one’s credit report. You may also want to check with the Social Security Administration. They will be able to let you know when your loved one passed away. Once you receive their information, you will have to submit a death notice to the credit bureaus. This can be a pain.
Unlike your average person, you don’t have a whole lot of time to spend submitting a death notice, so you should make the process quick and easy. To expedite the process, you can get a template to use. A template will help you to keep track of all the details.
Aside from the aforementioned, you should also look at your loved one’s credit report to determine which of their accounts is open. Keeping tabs on these accounts will help you to identify unpaid debts. It will also help you to avoid fraud.