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Responsibility of Surviving Spouse

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? CT
If I die with a negative net worth, is my wife obligated to pay a credit card bill (that is in my name only) out of her proceeds of my life insurance policy? In other words, if she is a beneficiary of a life insurance policy on my life is she obligated to pay the debts of my estate with those proceeds or any other of her personal assets?


Senior Member
Credit card debt is not passed on to heirs when a loved one dies, but it can still affect you. When someone dies with debt, credit card companies will first try to collect from the deceased’s estate. If there is not enough money in the estate, heirs may have to sell assets from the estate in order to cover the liabilities.

So, even though the heirs are not directly responsible for the debt, they may have to sell assets they were expecting to keep in order to repay the deceased’s financial obligations.

If, after assets are sold, there still is not enough money in the estate to cover the remaining debt, the company that issued the credit card will write off the debt. Usually, a death certificate is required as proof. Family members are not legally liable for any debt.

Be careful, however, if you are a joint account holder on a credit card. If you have a card in common with someone, you are responsible for the debt on that account if the other account holder dies.

Also, if there were shared assets such as a home in both names, bank accounts, autos and such, the companies can come after his portion of those assets.

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