In today’s economy, many people in Colorado carry some form of debt. For example, they may have a mortgage, an auto loan or a credit card account. When a person who has debts passes away, the question who is responsible for paying back these debts arises?

The deceased’s survivors may be worried that they’ll be on the hook for their loved one’s debts. In general, they need not worry. Per the Federal Trade Commission, the deceased’s survivors generally are not liable for the debts of the deceased. Instead, the debts are paid out of the deceased’s estate. And, if the estate assets are depleted in paying off the debts, any remaining balances will generally go unpaid.

There are some exceptions. For example, a surviving spouse may be obligated to pay at least some of the debt. However, this varies based on state probate law, so those who want to know whether a spouse in Colorado will be responsible for their deceased partner’s debts will want to seek professional guidance on the matter.

The death of a loved one is a time of mourning, but it can also be a time of worry as the deceased’s survivors try to figure out how they will move on from their loved one’s death. Emotional grief should not be compounded by concern over how the deceased’s remaining debts will be paid. If a person in Colorado is being harassed by debt collectors following their loved one’s death or if they have other questions about how their loved one’s debts will be paid, they can consult with an estate planning attorney.