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Will my family have to pay my debts after I die?

You have worked hard all your life to be able to pay your bills, but like most Americans, you have some debt. You might even have significant debt that you are certain you will not pay off before you die. What happens to your debt after your death, though? Is Floridians' debt wiped clean after they pass away?

Not necessarily, according to NerdWallet. During the probate process your estate will be used to repay your creditors before your beneficiaries receive a penny. What remains after paying off your debts will be distributed to your loved ones, according to the wishes you left in your will. The executor you named in your will is the one who will be responsible for paying your debts - if necessary, liquidating some assets, such as your home, to satisfy creditors.

After repaying creditors, there may still be some forms of debt that your family may be responsible for, such as:

  • Any loan of yours that someone else has co-signed for - the co-signer will now be responsible for the debt
  • Credit card debt, if there was a joint owner of the card
  • The mortgage, home equity loan or outstanding debt from an auto loan - this debt falls to the person who inherits the property
  • Marital debt, if your spouse survives you - not debt that predated the marriage, however

Any debt that remains after your estate is liquidated to repay creditors should be wiped clean. But what if you have so much debt that you are worried your loved ones will have nothing to enjoy after your creditors receive payment?

This is a valid concern. You may want to consider filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to eliminate the debt now so you no longer have to live under its shadow - and so you don't have to worry about it affecting your loved ones in the future.

By planning ahead, you may have the peace of mind knowing you will be able to leave your loved ones a suitable inheritance.

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