A recently published article discussed consumer debt in the United States and how it is treated after a person dies. The simple truth is, creditors have the right to still get paid, which means they can go after the money during the probate process. In Illinois, who has to foot the bill, though?

Some may worry that they will be held personally responsible for their loved one’s debts. Depending on who really owned the debt, that may not be true. Typically, any obligations have to be paid for with the decedent’s assets — such as his or her car, home and funds in financial accounts. The only reason a surviving family member may have to pay the debt is if he or she is the joint owner of an account. For instance, if a husband and wife are both listed as borrowers on a car loan, if either dies, the other is still responsible for repayment

According to reports, consumer debt in the United States has topped $13.86 trillion. The New York Federal Reserve states that this is the 20th quarter that household debt balances have increased. People have debt of some sort most of their lives. 

It is believed that roughly three-quarters of the population will die in debt. This means that this issue is most likely to come up when closing out a loved one’s estate, whether that occurs in Illinois or elsewhere. Those who have questions about how to handle consumer debt when going through the probate process can turn to legal counsel to get their questions answered. It is also possible to seek further assistance with addressing any questionable claims made by creditors.