Do I Have to Pay My Parents’ Debts?
Skilled McKinney Probate Attorneys
At Willingham Law Firm, PC, we are commonly contacted by clients who wonder
if they will be responsible for paying their parent’s debts. The
answer is generally no, as we do not pass debts on to children of the
deceased in the United States. However, there are some situations in which
you may be liable for the debts of your parent, often through contract
law or failure to follow proper laws.
Due to the complexity and high stakes of probate, it’s always a good
idea to retain an experienced McKinney probate attorney who can guide
you through the process. At Willingham Law Firm, PC, our skilled team
has an in-depth understanding of probate and estate planning, giving us
the ability to provide knowledgeable counsel from a point of experience.
You shouldn’t be liable for your parents’ debts. Call our firm
today for your
free case evaluation.
When Will I Be Responsible for Their Debts?
Improper Action as Executor
One situation where you can become liable for the debts of your parent
is to fail to notify creditors when acting as your parent’s executor.
Executors rarely have experience with probate, which can put them in a
tough position. Oftentimes, they don’t understand that they are
required to pay creditors first, before they pay beneficiaries. If an
executor fails to pay the debts of his or her parent and cannot recover
the property from the other beneficiaries, then he may have to repay the
creditors out of his own pocket. This situation is very unfortunate because
it is easily avoidable by simply notifying creditors and following proper
probate law procedures.
For guidance through the probate process, call Willingham
Law Firm today at (214) 250-4407.
Another way you can become liable for the debts of your parent is to have
a common debt. This situation happened to a client of our firm, who had
decided to co-sign on a mortgage with her father. When her father passed,
the mortgage became her full responsibility. The loan officer for the
bank had told her that the only reason she was needed on the mortgage
was for credit purposes, but this was not true. As the only living person
on the mortgage, she was forced to pay off the debt.
The most common way to become liable for the debt of your parent is to
sign a guarantee. Hospitals and nursing homes will sometimes require you
to guarantee a payment in order for them to treat your parent. Many times
these guarantees are not lawful, but the hospital or nursing home will
use them as leverage to try to get paid. If you are planning on putting
your parent into a nursing facility or hospital, then consult with an
attorney before signing any type of guarantee.
We Can Help You Avoid Costly Mistakes
Even though you are not liable for the debts of your parent, this will
not stop debt collectors from trying to collect the debt from you. Many
times debt collectors will lie and claim that you owe the debt. In some
situations, the children will pay it without consulting an attorney first.
Our seasoned McKinney probate lawyers at Willingham Law Firm, PC can help
you avoid mistakes which can make you responsible for your parents’
debts. When you retain our firm, we will provide skilled guidance through
the probate process, protecting your interests every step of the way.
Don’t hesitate to secure the legal representation you need.
Contact our firm today at (214) 250-4407.