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Goldberg Law Center, P.C.

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What Happens to Our Debts When We Die?


You cannot avoid paying your debts by dying. Generally, when you die, your debts will get paid from the assets that you own. If your total debt is more than the value of what you own, debts are paid first to the extent that there is money to do so, and the rest is written off by the creditor. Debts are always paid before any distributions can be made to the beneficiaries. When someone dies, one of the first things we do is identify all the debt that the deceased person owes and identify all the assets they own have. Then we plan accordingly.

Am I Responsible for My Spouse’s, My Parents’ or My Children’s Debt?

Generally, no. You are not responsible for debt that you did not sign up for. However, if you have joint assets, you may end up liquidating that asset to pay your loved one’s debt because your deceased loved one owned the asset as well. It is critical in your planning, that you identify what debt you have, whose debt it is, what assets you have, and who owns those assets.

Can any Creditor Make a Claim on an Estate Once the Debtor has Died?

Any person or entity that is owed money by the decedent can make a claim to have that debt paid. There is a legal process for making a claim, both in the probate process and outside of the probate court. In a probate proceeding, one of the steps of administration is to publish a notice to creditors in the newspaper. In Colorado, creditors have four months from the publication date to submit their claim to the personal representative of the estate or to the court. If no notice is published, the creditor has one year from the date of the death. Outside of the probate process, a creditor may have up to six years to file his claim, depending on the applicable statute of limitations.

For more information on Your Debts After You Die In Colorado, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (719) 627-5955 today.