Do I inherit my mother's debts?

Question:

My mother passed away quite recently. I've been taking care of her house, and notice that credit card bills and so forth are starting to pile up. Who's responsible for these? Am I, since I have inherited some money and property from her? When I notify the creditors of her death, will that make me responsible?

Answer:

Your mother's debts should be paid with the property in her estate -- that is, the property she left at her death. You have not inherited these debts.

However, the debts do affect you to the extent that they will have to be paid before any inheritance is handed out. Also, if you inherit property that is collateral for a debt -- for example, a car that is not paid for, or a house with a mortgage -- the debt comes with the property.

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