Thursday, March 28, 2013

Will My Family Have To Pay My Debts When I Pass?

Finance - Financial injection - Finance
Finance - Financial injection - Finance (Photo credit: @Doug88888)
As we get older, we tend to think of things that we never found ourselves thinking about in the past. Questions like “Will my family have to pay my debts when I pass?” are often asked as we reach retirement. Unfortunately however, the answer isn't quite that clear when we do a search online. Some articles say yes and some say no. Another unfortunate part of this is that many articles I've read on this topic have misinformation all through them. So, without further ado, here is the REAL answer you've been looking for... 

Will My Family Have To Pay My Debts When I Pass? 

The bottom line is that you and you alone own and owe your debts. However, the topic gets a bit interesting when an estate is taken into consideration. If you have anything of monetary value to your name when all is said and done, this is also something that you own. Because you own your debts, your estate may be used to pay our debts before it is passed on to your family. Therefore, when you pass, if you have more debt than you do monetary value in your estate, chances are, nothing will be left for your family. However, this is a topic that is best addressed with an estate planning attorney or another estate planning expert. 

How To Pay Your Debts Quickly And Protect Your Estate 

Chances are, if you are reading this article, you may not have too much time left to plan for leaving something behind for your family. However, it's never too late to protect your estate by paying off your debts. Here are a couple ways that you can do that while avoiding debt scams... 

Option #1 – Financial Hardship Programs 

Due to recent economic hard times, many lenders have started to offer financial hardship programs. When it comes to credit cards, these programs are often called balance liquidation programs. When it comes to mortgages, these programs can be referred to as mortgage modifications. No matter what type of debt you are dealing with, chances are, your lender has an option that will help. All you will need to do is give your lender a call to find out if they are willing to help and how much they will help. However, it's important to remember that financial hardship programs may take years to pay off. Therefore, if you feel as though you don't have this time, you may want to consider debt settlement. 

Option #2 – Debt Settlements 

Although, I don't generally advise debt settlement because of the incredibly negative repercussions it can have on credit scores, in cases where consumers only have a year or two to pay their debts off completely, this is a viable option. When you enroll into a debt settlement program, your representative will help to create a payment plan that will meet your goals. As you make payments, they will not be given to the lender. Instead, they are held in a special purpose savings account until there is enough money to settle a debt. At that point, the debt settlement company you choose will negotiate the amount of debt owed with the lender and settle it for a lesser amount. 

The Bottom Line 

Although your family will not be held liable for your debts, it's important to remember that your estate will pay your debts before anything will be left for your family. With that said, if you feel as though you don't have much time left, it's always best to start aggressively paying down your debts. This way, your estate will be left to your family and not to pay your financial obligations! 

About The Author – Joshua Rodriguez 
This article was written by Joshua Rodriguez, proud owner and founder of CNA Finance and avid personal finance writer. Joshua's most recent work online has been his balance transfer credit card series. Join the discussion about this article, Joshua's series or any personal finance topic of your choice on Google+!

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