Am I responsible for my deceased husband’s loans if I was not on them but we live in a community property state?

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Am I responsible for my deceased husband’s loans if I was not on them but we live in a community property state?

My husband died leaving me executor in his Will. He had several loans at the credit union in his name only. The only asset of the estate is our home which was in his and his son’s name; there is no mortgage. Am I liable for the credit union loans?

Asked on January 22, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Alaska

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

AK is a community property state, and in such a state, debt incurred by a spouse for the benefit of the family is considered a "community" debt; therefore the spouse is responsible for repaying that debt.  However, my understanding is that AK allows a married couple to "opt in" to the community property system.  Accordingly, all assets/debts or specific assets/debts can be deemed to be either community property or separate property, whatever the couple in their discretion decides.  If the the debt remains separate, the general rule is that a spouse is not obligated to pay for debts in their spouse's name. Therefore, to the extent that these loans were kept as separate debt, you would not be liable for their repayment.  Again, however it depends just how the loans were categorized.

What you should do now is to consult directly with an attorney in your area.


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