Am I responsible to pay off my late mother’s debts?

My mother passed away and left no estate except for a life insurance policy of which I am the beneficiary. She owed money for 2 credit cards.

Asked on August 9, 2013 under Estate Planning, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

No, family members do not inherit debt. To the extent that there are any assets in your mother's estate, they must be sold to satisfy creditor claims; the balance will then be distributed to her beneficiaries/heirs. If there are no assets, then the debt extinguished.

Also, proceeds from a life insurance policy are not part of a deceased's assets. Such money passes outside of an estate. Therefore, anyything tht you recieve are ours and not subject to a taking for any of your mother's debts.

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