If I have been legally separated for 5 years and my spouse passes on before we are legally divorced, am I responsible for any of his financial obligations?

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If I have been legally separated for 5 years and my spouse passes on before we are legally divorced, am I responsible for any of his financial obligations?

Asked on October 3, 2012 under Family Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Creditors are not bound by a separation agreement, since they were not a party to the agreement. If you can be considered the legally responsible party, they will seek collection from you.

Generally, a spouse is not the legally responsible party for their spouse's debt as long as the debt is an individual (not joint) account, the non-debtor spouses is a co-signor for the debt and the couple does not live in a community property state.

However, with respect to debts incurred for medical expenses and the like, state laws vary about a survivng spouse's responsibility for such debt. You'd need to consult with a local attorney as to that.


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