Page 34


Featured On The Cover Establish aa plan, plan, diffuse aa crisis, Establish crisis,ororask aska question... a question...

ANNEMARIE ESQ. ANNEMARIESCHREIBER, SCHREIBER, ESQ. Certified CertifiedElder ElderLaw LawAttorney* Attorney*

hashas thethe knowledge knowledgeand andexperience experienceto tohelp help you! you!

Deceased Relatives and Their Debts Studies show that approximately 75% of Americans die in debt. The most common debt is credit card debt. Mortgages, outstanding car loans, personal loans and student loans are other forms of debts owed by an individual at the time of death. It is estimated that the average American will pass away owing approximately $62,000. The good news for those passing away in New Jersey is that family members are not responsible for their deceased relative’s debt, unless they co-signed for a loan, credit card, or have joint ownership of a property or business. The rest of the debt obligations fall to the deceased relative’s estate, if there is one. It is important to keep in mind even if a family member is named in the deceased relative’s Last Will and Testament or a family member believes they are in line for an inheritance, there can only be an inheritance if there is enough money in the estate after all of the deceased person’s debts have been paid. In most cases, existing debts are paid from the deceased relative’s estate. An estate is the total value of the assets owned by an individual at the time that individual passes away. Assets include things such as a home, a car, a boat, a stamp collection, jewelry, a bank account – just about anything that is money or can be turned into money by selling it. If someone dies with outstanding debts, the assets in the estate are used to pay off those debts. That means

Certified Elder Law Attorney, Annemarie Schreiber answered questions and offered informaton on the Caregivers First TV show, hosted by Lynette Whiteman, Executive Director of Caregiver Volunteers Of Central Jersey. The episode aired last December 12th on local TV stations (visit for listings). It is also be posted on SCAN’s YouTube channel and

that certain assets, like a house or a car, may have to be sold so there is sufficient money to pay the decedent’s debts. It is the executor’s responsibility to make sure the debts of the estate have been paid. Neither the executor nor the deceased person’s family members are personally responsible to pay the debts of the decedent; this means no executor or family member needs to use their own money to pay is also known as a health care proxy directive, off the deceased relative’s debts. a durable of attorney for health careresponsible or an advance Again, thepower only time someone may be to directive. pay a An individual appoints a trusted person to beco-signed his or her arepresentative in the deceased relative’s debt is if that person loan or other the creator can no longer make medical decisions typeevent of credit loan of forthe ordocument with the deceased individual. In that case, for himor be herself. there may personal financial responsibility. When an estate is insolvent, which means the decedent dies with is a legal document in which an individual states his or more debt than assets, the deceased’s family members will not her wishes regarding medical treatment and end of life care. An individual’s receive any inheritance, but they still are not responsible to pay off preferences for medical treatment and end of life care are often included in any debts. Family members need to be mindful when it comes to the debts of a deceased individual. Although debt collectors know that family members have no personal obligation to pay off the debts of the decedent, it may not stop them from trying to collect anyway. If you need to determine how to handle the debts of a deceased relative, contact my office.

Call 732-797-1600 for more information!

* As a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the ABA approved National Elder Law Foundation, Annemarie Schreiber is one of only 400 or so attorneys in the entire United States who is a qualified CELA. She is certified by the ABA approved Natonal Elder Law Foundation and has years of experience offering clients in Ocean and Monmouth counties the legal counsel they need to plan ahead for their future or the future of their loved ones work through difficult situations.

The County Woman Magazine

July/August 2019

Profile for The County Woman

Ocean County Woman - May/June 2019  

The County Woman ™ is part of a nationally syndicated publication and has been around for over 31 years. There are over 371 other counties t...

Ocean County Woman - May/June 2019  

The County Woman ™ is part of a nationally syndicated publication and has been around for over 31 years. There are over 371 other counties t...