An individual’s estate is responsible for repaying any debts that the individual left outstanding at death. The executor of the estate will use the individual’s assets — either cash from bank accounts or money gained from liquidating property — to pay back creditors.
Spouses of deceased individuals may worry that creditors will attempt to collect from them after their husband or wife passes away. As with many questions in the law, the answer to whether you are responsible for the debts of your deceased spouse is: “it depends.”
When you marry or enter into a longterm relationship, it may make sense to begin to combine assets. Many couples consider creating a joint estate plan such as a joint trust to manage their financial affairs after death. Consider a few factors before making your decision.
Although wills give us a lot of control over what happens to our property after we die, there are some limitations to this power. The majority of states recognize the right of a surviving spouse to claim a share in the deceased partner’s estate regardless of any statements made in a will. Your ability to disinherit a spouse depends on your state and its individual laws.