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When your loved one is in debt at the time of his or her death


When a loved one dies, the emotional toll that this loss can take on you can understandably leave you feeling incapable of handling the everyday tasks of life for a little while. This kind of emotional and physical draining that accompanies the loss of a loved one is one of the primary reasons that many employers offer bereavement leave. It is also one of the many reasons that caring individuals often bring food and run errands for those who are grieving. There is widespread acceptance for the idea that grieving individuals should be taken care of and should not shoulder everyday burdens in the immediate aftermath of their losses.

However, the financial and consumer industries are not always so accommodating. If your spouse, partner or child has died while in debt, organizations within these industries may come after your finances directly within days or weeks of your loved one’s passing.

If you are the spouse, partner or parent of a minor child with debt problems, some of these debts may indeed become your responsibility. However, many debts that are not your legal responsibility may be presented by banks, creditors and other organizations as if they are your responsibility.

If you are being hounded by creditors in the wake of your loved one’s death, do not panic and do not assume that you are responsible for paying off all of these debts. Before you act upon debt notices, speak with an attorney experienced in financial matters. He or she can help inform you of what the law is, which debts you are protected from and which debts you may indeed have to pay.

Source: The Huffington Post, " It's A Matter Of Life... And Debt: Know Your Rights," Carole Brody Fleet, Jan. 13, 2014