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Did My Dad’s Debt Die With Him? – Graeme

“Dear Steve,

My father died but has outstanding credit card debt to the value of $33,000 in his sole name. He had some land but upon his death it was tranfered soley to my step mothers name. She doesn’t have any money to pay the credit card debts.

Can the banks make my step mother sell the land to pay the debt ot did the debt die with my dad?



Dear Graeme,

Ultimately this is a question for a probate attorney. I’ll give you my impression of the situation but you need to talk to a lawyer licensed in your state for a legal opinion.

I suppose that the issue about the land is if the land was held jointly by your stepmother and your father. In that case the land could not be sold to pay his debt. It would have simply just passed to the other joint owner.

But if your father left the land to your stepmother and the land was then transferred from him to her then, in my humble opinion, the land would have been a valuable asset of your father’s and as part of his estate could have been used to repay the debts from his estate.

Please talk to a lawyer in your state.

Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.

P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.

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About Steve Rhode

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.
  • Graeme

    Thank you for the very quick reply and excellent comments. I will have to gain more information from my step mother regarding joint tennants and tennant in common.



    It is very important that you follow Steve’s advice about asking this question to a lawyer licensed to practice law in the state where your father lived. If the land is located in a state different than where your father lived, ask the original attorney whether he needs to exam such state’s laws.


    • Steve Rhode


      Excellent point I had not considered, the land might be located in a different state. Smart one.


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