What happens when a person leaves credit card debt and they have no assets?

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What happens when a person leaves credit card debt and they have no assets?

My friend is ill and he has a large amount of credit card debt. His only asset is a vehicle – no home, savings, money, etc. His only heir is his 15 year-old son. The only thing he will inherit is the vehicle and personal belongings. Who will be responsible for the credit card debt?

Asked on June 19, 2011 under Estate Planning, West Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Family members do not inherit debt. However, this does not mean that your friend's creditor has no recourse here.  The assets of the estate (i.e. car) may have to be sold in order to satisfy creditor claims. Only after the debts are paid will the remaining assets be distributed to the heirs (in this case your friend's son). If the sale of the assets (i.e. the car) are not enough to pay off all debts, then any debt remaining extinguishes as a matter of law (i.e. are written off).


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