As we grow older, our parents also age. Sometimes they become dependent on us in many ways. Even if they aren’t dependent, they might pass on debt through their estate once they pass.
One of the burdens that adult children sometimes bear is the responsibility of their parent’s credit card debt.
What should you know about your parent’s credit card debt?
Understanding the Legal Framework
Credit card debt comes with a legal framework that defines the relationship between the creditor and the debtor. In a case where your parent dies, the lender cannot charge you for their credit card debt. Debts are not passed down to the heirs of the deceased.
However, debt can affect the estate of the deceased. Creditors can collect on debts when the estate is settled. This means the money your parent owed them comes out of their estate. However, if there is no estate they’ll receive nothing.
If you have a joint account with your parent, the liability of the credit card debt is shared. You are liable for any debt that arises under the account.
This means that if your parent fails to pay their debt, the creditor can come after you for the full amount. It is upon you to determine whether or not a joint account exists so that you can take the appropriate measures.
Power Of Attorney
If you have a power of attorney, you have legal permission to make financial decisions on behalf of your parent.
However, this role does not allow you to incur new debt on your parent’s behalf. You are only allowed to manage the debts that exist before taking power of attorney. It is crucial to read the power of attorney document carefully to determine the extent of your responsibility for your parent’s credit card debt.
Paying Off Your Parent’s Credit Card Debt
Finally, if you discover that you are responsible for your parent’s credit card debt, you can take steps to deal with it. One way you can do this is by arranging a payment plan with the creditor. You might also be able to negotiate a reduced settlement amount than what you are required to pay. It is essential to consult a financial advisor before taking any steps to pay off your parent’s credit card debt.
If you are struggling with a parent’s credit debt, it is essential to consult a financial advisor or a legal expert to help guide you through the process. Remember, taking responsibility for your parent’s credit card debt can negatively impact your credit score, so it is essential to understand your liability.
If you’d like to know more about dealing with your parents’ debt or you have questions about the debts of others that can affect you, we can help. For more information, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813-254-5696 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney.