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My Father-In-Law Died and Left My Mother-In-Law Deep in Debt. – Sherry

“Dear Steve,

My father in law passed away and my mother in law has been left with an enormous debt. we did not realize they were this much in debt and are trying to figure out the best option for her.she is 73 yrs old. just to make her payments each month she is 500.00 short. she has a mortgage payment 950.00, home equity payment 150.00, about 6-7 credit cards estimated 15,000.00 total balance. plus all utilities and insurances.

Would like to know at her age and the amount of debt she has what her best option would be; debt settlement company, bankruptcy or some other option.

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Dear Sherry,

I had the following questions that I’d like for you to answer before I can answer your question. Please post your answers in the comments section of your question. I’m looking forward to helping you for free.

  1. Is this residual debt, joint debt in both of their names or was it in his name alone?
  2. What kind of debt and how much are we talking about is the problem debt?

As soon as you can post the answers to my questions above I’ll be able to help.

If any reader wants to offer advice in the comments section please feel free to participate.


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Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • the very small amount of life insurance was used for the burial. i’m not sure how much equity she has in the house because she already has a home equity loan. do you see any way she can possibly pay her way out of this or what option would you advise? thanks-sherry

  • I’m afraid it was in both of their names. Total debt approx. 150,000.00.(approx 130,000 mortgage/home equity and 20,000 in credit card debt). My guess is that the credit card debt is the biggest problem but at age 73 i’m not sure how much longer before health issues might take more of the money used toward mortgage payment. i hope i answered what you needed to know.

    • Sherry,

      Well the bad news is that if it is joint debt, it is hers now. Does she have any equity in the property?

      I’m assuming that he passed away and did not leave her any life insurance or other assets. Is that correct?


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