Is the executor of an estate personally responsible for the credit card debts of the deceased?

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Is the executor of an estate personally responsible for the credit card debts of the deceased?

Ten years ago, my dad , now 75 years old, did his will and named my mom the personal representative and in the case that she is deceased, my brother as the executor. My dad has been stacking up credit card debt and we don’t know what else. He is very secretive and will not tell us what debt he does have. My question is in the event of my dad’s death and if my mom is deceased, will my brother be responsible to pay off this mounting credit card debt or will it be forgiven by the companies.

Asked on March 12, 2009 under Estate Planning, South Dakota

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

No... credit card debt and debt of the deceased does not flow to the executor unless the executor is doing the wrong doing (i.e., if the executor is charging to the card credits prior to your father's death), etc.   In terms of forgiveness, that will be a question of his credit card agreements, insurance coverage he has that may pay these off in case of his death, and whether he has enough assets in his estate that could possibly create a desire in the companies to seek from his assets.

Is your father of sound mind? Does he forget a lot? Perhaps taking the family to review the will at an attorney's office may allow him to tell the lawyer what he won't tell the family.


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