Does someone need to pay off debt for a deceased parent?

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Does someone need to pay off debt for a deceased parent?

My father is being harassed to pay off his deceased father’s mortgage debt of over $120k. His father walked out on him and his other 4 siblings when my father was 6 years old and left my grandmother alone. Now that his dad has died after about 40 years, and a lawyer is trying to get my dad and his siblings to pay off the debt since he is an “heir”. What can my father do? This is unfair and my dad has been through so much in the last few years with losing his wife and his mother and is struggling from paycheck to paycheck to support my brother and my sister who has down syndrome. He cannot even afford this.

Asked on August 17, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Rhode Island

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your father and his siblings are not liable for your grandfather's debt.  The attorney could sue the grandfather's estate;however, since that hasn't happened, the estate is probably too small to pay the debt.  Therefore, the attorney and the lender client the attorney represents are out of luck.


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