My ex wife has racked up some significant debt (with IRS among others). If she were to die, to whom would her debts be liable?

Asked over 2 years ago - Corte Madera, CA

We separated 5 years ago (divorced 4 years)
Don't know if she has a will - but assume that she has left everything to our 2 kids
Not sure that she took out the life insurance naming me as a beneficiary to the amount of $150k (I keep asking her for it!)

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Richard Scott Lysle

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyer agrees


    Answered . Her estate would be liable for the debts. The creditors would get money before her heirs would receive anything. If her estate has no assets, no one would be liable.

    If the dates are post-separation, they are her separate debts, not community property debts. Date of separation would probably be determined by the court's finding in the divorce judgment.

    Make sure that your name is off any credit card account that you had jointly with her.

    If there is life insurance, that money would go to the named beneficiary, not to creditors. If she was ordered to buy life insurance for your benefit as a part of the divorce, you should consult the attorney who represented you in your divorce case, or any other family law lawyer, as you might need to take legal action to enforce that provision.

Related Topics


There are different types of debt, but all involve one person (the debtor) owing money to another (the creditor). Terms of repayment are governed by a contract.

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

24,256 answers this week

2,971 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

24,256 answers this week

2,971 attorneys answering