By: Darrell Castle
If your spouse left you with debt you can’t pay, the way out of that situation will vary depending on your situation.
First of all, you can’t file bankruptcy on behalf of someone else; but you can consider bankruptcy for yourself if you are unable to pay debts left behind by your loved one.
When a loved one passes away, his or her estate goes through a probate process to determine who owns what. If your debt was owed jointly, there’s a good chance it will pass on to you. In that case, you could consider bankruptcy as an option for getting rid of that debt. This happens a lot when the main breadwinner in a family dies but also leaves behind large, shared debts like a mortgage.
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Some states have community property laws that assume all married couple’s property is jointly owned by both spouses. Often in those states, any debt the deceased person leaves behind is subject to collection by creditors. There are currently nine community property states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
Life insurance can also play a factor in your case. If the person had a significant insurance policy but leaves behind debts that you’re responsible for, the creditors may try to access that life insurance to cover the debt.
Should You Consider Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is one option and may help in any of the above situations.
After a loved one’s death, the last thing most people want is to lose the home that reminds them of their spouse, or face harassment from creditors during an already difficult time. Bankruptcy can stop both of those things from happening. Download my free report about stopping creditor harassment to find out more.
Still, not every situation will require bankruptcy.
Our Bankruptcy Attorneys Can Help
Estate issues can get confusing, and if there’s any doubt of what your options are, we encourage you to speak with an estate and/or bankruptcy attorney. Our bankruptcy lawyers in Memphis can help you figure out the best way to move forward; and we don’t push people toward unnecessary bankruptcy if it’s not right for you.
In some cases, it might benefit you to consider bankruptcy as early as possible. Getting rid of the debt before a person has died can help protect the life insurance policy, for example.
Want a FREE Bankruptcy Consultation?
As you can see, a lot of factors affect your potential bankruptcy case. If you want to find out more or have any questions, please call (901) 327-2100 today for a free bankruptcy consultation. Or you can contact us online.
Our bankruptcy attorneys are informative, detailed and really care. And our clients will back that up.