Am I responsible for my deceased partner’s credit card debt?
Credit card debt is an example of individual debt. Many people think that when you die, your credit card debts are automatically written off, however this is a common misconception. The truth is that any individual debts left behind when someone dies must be paid by that person’s Estate. This means that any money or assets that the deceased may have left behind will be used to pay off their debts. If the deceased left nothing behind, then their debt will be written off.
In most cases this means that you will not be responsible for your deceased partner’s credit card debt. However, there are exceptions to this:
- Joint debts – if you have a joint account for your credit card then you will still be responsible for any debt on the card when your partner dies.
- Shared assets – if your partner leaves a large amount of credit card debt and does not have enough money to pay it back when they die then things can get a little more complicated. Creditors will be entitled to their money out of the value of your partners assets. These are likely assets that you share so make sure you are prepared for this potential circumstance.
How to pay off debts after death
If you are the executor or Personal Representative to your partner after they die, then there are a number of things to consider:
- Contact any lenders or banks that your partner used to inform them of their death. They can then send you a statement outlining any outstanding debt.
- Make sure all Direct Debits are cancelled from your partner’s credit card to avoid accumulating more debt.
- Collect all of your partner’s paper and online financial records so that you are on top of everything that might be owed, and any insurance you may be entitled to.
- If there are any debts owed, make sure that you pay in priority order. This is normally secured debts first, priority debts second, and then any other unsecured debts there might be.