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Can Your Children Inherit Your Debt? July 7, 2020

Downtown Honolulu, Honolulu
Can Your Children Inherit Your Debt?, Honolulu, Hawaii

If you’ve amassed a substantial amount of debt that you’re concerned might be left to your children, a qualified debt lawyer can help you examine your options. In the meantime, the guide below will provide you with a better understanding of what may happen to your debt when you pass away.  

Your Estate Will Resolve Most of Your Debts

Generally speaking, your children will not be required to pay back your outstanding debts when you pass away. However, whatever they stand to inherit from you will be affected, as your creditors will attempt to collect the money they’re owed from your estate. For example, if you’ve left funds from an investment account, such as an IRA or 401K, to your children, there may be little to nothing left after your creditors claim their due. 

Typically, creditors have between two and six months to make a claim against your estate after you pass away. In most cases, if there isn’t enough money to cover everything you owe, the debt will be wiped out. 

Exceptions to the Rule

Hawaii debt lawyerThere are some exceptions, which is why it’s smart to work with a debt lawyer to minimize any burden placed on your loved ones. If you leave your children a home with an outstanding mortgage, for instance, they’ll be responsible for paying the monthly payments, though they won’t be required to pay it off in full.

If you have any loans that your children have co-signed for, or if you share a joint credit card account, they’ll be obligated to cover the bill.

In some states, children can be held responsible for their parents’ unpaid medical bills, which is known as filial responsibility. Luckily, this law is not in effect in Hawaii.


If you need a debt lawyer, get in touch with Greg Dunn, Bankruptcy and Debt Relief Attorney in Honolulu, HI. For more than 20 years, this experienced attorney has helped financially struggling clients throughout Oahu file for bankruptcy, make settlements with creditors, and find other successful forms of debt relief. Visit the website to learn more about his services, and call (808) 524-4529 to set up a consultation.

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