Florida Estate Planning: Will My Children Inherit My Debt?
Finances are one of the primary worries of the majority of families in Florida. Indeed, debt is one of the leading causes of stress among adults in the United States. As a parent who is thinking about estate planning in Florida, you may be wondering: Will my child inherit my debt when I pass away?
As a general rule, the answer is ‘no’. A child is typically not responsible for a parent’s debts. That being said, creditors could make a claim against your estate—seeking repayment from money that would otherwise be left to a child as their inheritance. Here, our Tampa estate planning lawyer explains in greater detail the most important things that parents need to know about debt and asset planning.
Children are Not Personally Liable for a Parent’s Debt
First and foremost, parents should understand that their children will not be held personally liable for their debts. If you pass away with $25,000 in debt, your kids are not responsible for paying it—unless they personally agreed to co-sign the loan. It does not matter if they are a child or an adult. However, if they did co-sign the loan, then that changes things. All parties are legally responsible for the debts that they personally guaranteed.
Creditors Can Make a Claim Against Your Estate
While a child is not personally liable for a parent’s debts, an estate is liable for a decedent’s debts. In other words, if you pass away with $10,000 in credit card debt, the credit card company does not have the right to bring a claim against your child. However, a creditor does have the right to go after your estate. What does this mean? In practice, it means that parental debts must be repaid before assets can be distributed. Part of the probate process in Florida involves identifying all creditor claims and settling valid debts. Your kids will not get access to inheritance through a will until debts and other legally enforceable creditor claims are resolved.
For parents, there are often estate planning options available that can help you maximize the amount of financial assets that you will have to leave for your children as part of their inheritance. If you are a Florida parent and you are worried about your debt, it is recommended that you discuss this issue with an experienced estate planning lawyer. Your lawyer will help you take the proper steps to protect your rights and the financial interests of your kids.
Consult With Our Tampa, FL Estate Planning Attorneys Today
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our dedicated Florida estate planning attorneys provide attentive, comprehensive representation to individuals and families. If you have any questions or concerns about estate planning and financial debt, we are here to help. For a completely private initial consultation, please contact us today. From our office in Tampa, we provide estate planning services throughout the region, including in Clearwater, Lakeland, Palm Harbor, Brandon, and Riverview.