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Am I Liable for a Spouse’s Debt After Death?

October 23, 2018

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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can be of assistance.

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Recent Posts
Do You Owe The AMT?

American educational reformer Horace Mann called education “the great equalizer.” In football, it’s been said ...

See more
What is the Value of Your Business?

In the second quarter of 2023, more than 2,300 small businesses were sold. The median ...

See more
Immediate vs. Deferred Annuities

Despite not being as well known as some other retirement tools, annuities account for 6.5% ...

See more