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If I have durable power of attorney, will I be responsible for my parent's unpaid debts upon their death?

New York |

My elderly parents are in debt over $30K with no means to pay, no property or personal belongings, life insurance, etc. that can compensate. My parents are looking to use me as POA for all their needs. While I am more than happpy to do so, I am concerned about the large debt they have accumulated and cannot pay off. Will either myself or any other family members be responsible for their debts when they are deceased? If so, would this change if I became POA for my mother alone? Would filing for bankruptcy help? Also, I am looking to move to Texas. We all live in the state of NY, Suffolk county. Would my living out of state affect the POA?
Thank you for your very valuable time and advice!

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Attorney answers 3


Unless you entered into the contracts for the debt with your parents, you would not be personably responsible for any debts.


As an estate attorney, I am often asked "am I responsible for my deceased relatives debts?" The answer is almost always "no." Unless you are a joint debtor or co-signor, you are not responsible for your deceased relative’s debts. I have included a link to my article which discusses this issue with more detail.


So long as you have not agreed to be responsible for your parents debts you will not be and being their POA will not change this. When acting as their POA be sure to make it clear on everything you sign that you are acting as their agent and not acting on your own; otherwise the creditor may come after you claiming it was your debt.