Twenty-eight states currently have laws making adult children responsible for their parents . . .Read more
Are Children Responsible for Their Parents' Debts?
- April 8th, 2013
In a 2006 column for SmartMoney.com, Stacy L. Bradford was asked whether children can become responsible for a deceased parent's debts. Bradford consulted with ElderLawAnswers member Bernard A. Krooks, who is also a past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Mr. Krooks advised that children aren't on the hook for their dead parents' unpaid bills. But he noted that our debts outlive us, hanging around until the estate pays them off. Only then can the remaining assets, if any, be distributed to the heirs.
To avoid this, some families begin giving valuable assets like jewelry to children before death. But this carries the risk that the gifts could be viewed by creditors as a "fraudulent conveyance" designed to shake the creditors. "If the creditor wants to be aggressive, it can ask [the gift recipient] to give it back," Krooks says. If the money or other assets are given away before creditors are satisfied, the estate's executor becomes personally responsible for making good on those obligations. Krooks goes on to offer advice on strategies for dealing with a parent's debts.
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
Margaret A. O'Reilly, PC
Margaret A. O’Reilly is an estate planning and elder law attorney with over thirty-five years of legal experience. Attorney O’Reilly graduated from Duke University with a degree in psychology, and received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. For over 15 y...
Hammond and Associates, LLC, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Probate
For Jeffrey Hammond, the practice of Elder Law is personal. Jeff’s many years of experience in law and in business did not prepare him for the crisis he faced in 2005 and 2006 when his father suffered a stroke and both of his parents suffered from dementia and other medical problems. At that time, Jeff began an i...