In our previous blog, we went over how part of the will-drafting process included choosing beneficiaries (such as family and friends) as inheritors of one’s personal belongings and the necessity of listing property where debts are still owed. We also discussed determining who would pay the debts on said property (credit cards, car loans, and/or mortgages).
In this piece, we’ll be going over the consequences of excluding indebted property as well as highlighting the laws/regulations that can protect loved ones from having to deal with this debt.
Adding Debts to a Will
Creating a will ensures that any debt you owe comes out of your estate instead of your family’s income. By excluding an accurate representation of your finances, one could leave their loved ones unaware of how much debt is owed. In a worst-case scenario, family members may have to tackle this debt and pay it off.
If an estate does not include debts that have yet to be paid off, the responsibility of doing so may fall upon:
- The deceased’s widow or widower.
- The debt’s cosigner(s).
- An executor who failed to comply with Texas’ probate laws.
Know Your Rights
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), any person who is legally required to pay off incurred debts in a will are protected under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This protects people from harassment or being forced to make payments to debtors. The FDCPA states that the only people debt collectors can discuss a deceased’s debt with, besides an executor, are the deceased’s widow or widower or a guardian or parent (if the deceased was a minor).
Draft a Will with Our Estate Planning Attorneys in McAllen
Contact our McAllen estate planning lawyers for sound advice and peace of mind during your will-drafting process.