Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in New Jersey

My spouse recently passed away. Am I obligated to pay her credit card debts?

Asked on 12/18/12, 3:56 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Corbett Corbett Law Firm LLC

Yes and no. You are not personally liable for your wife's credit card debt (although there is some other debt such as medical bills for which you may be liable). However, her estate is liable for her debts. So, if you are settling her estate as the Personal Representative, you must distribute the assets of the estate in the order prescribed by law. That would ordinarily result in the credit card debts being paid before and distributions could be made to residuary beneficiaries such as a spouse. You cannot convert the assets of the estate to your own use. It is not always easy to determine which assets go into the estate and which go direclty to some other person such as a surviving spouse. You may want to consult with a lawyer who can assist you in determining what goes where.

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Answered on 12/18/12, 7:12 pm

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