Will my mother's debt transfer to me if she were to pass away?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Seattle, WA

My mother does not work, has no income, owns a mobile home on leased land, but has no other assets. She was left with substantial credit card and student loan debt after her divorce many years ago, and has no way of paying it. I pay for her lot rent and utility bills, but can't afford to pay her debt. Her health is desinigrating, she is type 2 diabetic and her kideys are failing. I am not sure what we need to do, or if there is anything we can do to make it so we wouldn't lose the house & her belongings to her creditors. Any advice would be helpful.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Matthew Erik Johnson

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Debts will not transfer to you AS LONG as you don't mismanage her estate if you are acting as executor. Make sure you do not take anything for yourself until all debts are settled and taxes are paid. A little money for an attorney and CPA to handle this for you will save you time, and will save you from being held personally liable for your mothers debts.

    Matthew Johnson phone# 206.747.0313 is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale... more
  2. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I am sorry for your situation.

    You are not responsible for your mother's debt, absent agreement on your part to accept responsibility. Having said that, if your mother's creditors are able to get a judgment against her, it may effect your rights to anything you might otherwise inherit from her.

    Your mother needs to see an estate planning attorney to make sure that her estate planning is in order. The attorney can help her structure things in the best way possible to protect your interests.

    James Frederick

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and... more
  3. Robert L. Brenna Jr.

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your county Bar association may be able to help you get to a clinic, or even an attorney in private practice that can help, even if she has no money for attorney's fees. Don;t agree to pay anything personally until you get to an attorney, at least as far as the credit card bills are concerned.
    Sometimes an attorney for an estate can negotiate down unsecured debt (ie credoit card) to save something for the family. You are to be commended for helping out in this difficult situation.
    Best wishes for her and you.
    Bob Brenna Jr.
    Brenna Brenna and Boyce pllc
    Rochester, New York 14614

    Bob, Robert L. Brenna, Jr. No relationship is intended, agreed upon or accepted by answering this general... more
  4. Markus William Louvier

    Contributor Level 3


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I agree with the first response. You will not inherit her debt, although that debt may act to reduce your inheritance (if any). Unless, of course, the debt is currently yours.

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

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

30,323 answers this week

3,223 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

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

30,323 answers this week

3,223 attorneys answering