Most people in Ohio have at least one credit card, and, while some are able to pay off the balance each month, others carry credit card debt. In fact, according to one report, nearly three out of four consumers will still have outstanding credit card debt at the time of their death. This may leave their loved ones wondering if they are now responsible for paying the deceased’s credit card debt.
Unfortunately, credit card debt does not simply go away when the account holder passes away. The debt will be paid out of the deceased’s estate. This means that while family members may not personally be responsible for the debt, the size of the deceased’s estate will be lowered, meaning they will inherit less.
However, as always, there are a few limited circumstances in which a person is responsible for paying back the debt of a deceased loved one. If a spouse or relative co-signed for the credit card, they may be responsible for the remaining debt. If a spouse or relative jointly owns property or business with the deceased, they may be responsible for remaining debts. In addition, with joint credit card accounts, the surviving cardholder is still responsible for paying the credit card debt.
In many cases the deceased’s survivors will not be directly responsible for the deceased’s credit card debt, however, they could see their inheritance diminished. In addition, there are exceptions in which a person will be responsible for the deceased’s credit card debt. This post does not provide legal advice, so those who are wondering whether they’ll be responsible for their loved one’s debt or who are wondering if there are estate planning strategies that can protect them should seek professional guidance on the matter.