Who is responsible for the debts of a decedent is a common question when a loved one passes away. Here are a few questions we need to ask.
Was there a co-applicant (also known as a co-borrower) on the debt? For example, if the decedent was married did the spouse also apply for the debt. A person other than a spouse could also be a co-applicant. The co-applicant would have submitted information to the lender during the approval process.
Was there a co-signer? In cases where the lender (the bank) believes the person requesting the loan is a high risk of not repaying, the lender may require a co-signer. The co-signer is responsible for the debt if the applicant does not pay the debt.
Are there ‘authorized users’? For example, a parent may have a credit card and allow an adult child to use the credit, however, the ‘authorized user’ was not a co-applicant and not a co-signer but has the privilege of using the credit card. The authorized user would not be responsible for the debt.