Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in California

loan repayments

I cosigned for a student loan for my son . he was married at the time but he committed suicide...Am i still liable for the loan. since he was married...

Asked on 3/07/09, 11:49 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

David Gibbs The Gibbs Law Firm, APC

Re: loan repayments

Let me first say that I am sorry to hear of the loss of your son. As a general rule, a cosigner is generally as equally liable for the debt as the original debtor. It depends greatly on how the promissory note is structured. In some instances, they might be written so that your obligation is reduced over time. In terms of the debt, your son's estate was primarily responsible for repayment of the debt. If his estate was probated, then a notice would have gone to the creditors giving them a timeframe in which to file a claim. If they fail to file the claim, then they are barred from collecting from the estate only. The second in line for repayment is you because you actually have a contractual obligation to repay the debt if your son does not. Finally, as a last resort, the lender could go after the surviving spouse under the theory of Community Property. In California (and this only works if they were living in CA or another community property state at the time), any debt incurred by either spouse at a time when they were married can be considered a "community obligation." If you are on the hook contractually to repay the debt, they probably won't bother with the wife as it is a lot more work to establish her liability for the debt than it is to simply sue you under the agreement. Again, sorry to hear about your son, but good luck working this out with the lender.

*Due to the limitations of the LawGuru Forums, The Gibbs Law Firm, APC's (the "Firm") participation in responding to questions posted herein does not constitute legal advice, nor legal representation of the person or entity posting a question. No Attorney/Client relationship is or shall be construed to be created hereby. The information provided is general and requires that the poster obtain specific legal advice from an attorney. The poster shall not rely upon the information provided herein as legal advice nor as the basis for making any decisions of legal consequence.

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Answered on 3/09/09, 12:20 pm

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