A long illness and nursing home or hospital expenses for our parents can quickly add up to a lot of debt in California. You are not liable and cannot be sued personally for their debt so long as you didn’t agree to pay it.
You may get letters or phone calls from creditors asserting that as heirs of your parents’ estate, you are liable for their debts.
In California, children are not responsible for paying their parent’s debts unless they agree to be. The estate of the person who died is liable but if there is no money or assets in the estate, the creditors lose.
When a person dies, his or her estate is responsible for paying off the debts. If there is a probate because your parent passed away with a will or intestate without a will, creditors have four months to file a creditor’s claim. If there is no money in the probate estate or the trust estate, then the creditor won’t be paid. Creditors just write off the debt.
Similarly if your parent dies with credit card debt, you are not liable except if you co-signed with your parent on the credit card application.
For questions about your rights and obligations when someone dies, call Mitchel A. Port at (310) 559-5259.