Debts and the Deceased

May 18, 2020 // 0 Comments

The DC 37 Muncipal Employees Legal Services (MELS) answers your questions about the debts of deceased loved ones, especially during this coronavirus pandemic.  Am I responsible for paying off the debts of a deceased relative?  Generally, the answer is, no. Responsibility for a deceased relative’s outstanding obligation is not automatically transferred to a surviving relative.  Are debts extinguished when the debtor dies?  No. Outstanding debts remain active. Payment of the debts becomes the responsibility of the decedent’s estate. If there are no assets in the estate, meaning the decedent left behind nothing of value with which to pay outstanding obligations, the obligations often go unpaid.  Can I, as a surviving relative, ever be held responsible for the deceased’s outstanding debts?  Yes. There are circumstances under which a surviving relative can be held responsible for [More...]