That’s a lot of debt, and it doesn’t just disappear.

That’s a lot of debt, and it doesn’t just disappear.

By Bob Plunkett

You’re probably going to die with some debt to your name. Most people do. About 73% according to the Credit bureau Experian. People wind up with an average total balance of $61,000, including mortgage debt. Without home loans, the average balance was $13,000.

For the most part, your debt dies with you, but that doesn’t mean it won’t affect the people you leave behind.

Debt belongs to your estate,” If you enough assets, the creditors get paid, and beneficiaries receive whatever remains. If there aren’t enough assets to satisfy debts, creditors lose out. Family members do not then become responsible for the debt. That’s a lot of debt, and it doesn’t just disappear.

There are lots of ways things can get messy. If your only asset is a home other people live in. That asset must be used to satisfy debts, whether it’s the mortgage or a lot of credit card debt, meaning the people who live there may have to take over the mortgage, or your family may need to sell it to pay creditors. Accounts with co-signers or co-applicants can also result in the debt falling on someone else’s shoulders. 

One way to make sure debt doesn’t make a mess of your estate is to stay out of it. You can keep tabs on your debt by reviewing your credit report for free on And by live below your means. You may also want to consider getting life insurance and meeting with an estate planning attorney to make sure everything’s covered in the event of your death. 

Remember, estate planning can involve more than just drafting a will. 

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