In 1817, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “In this world nothing can be certain except death and taxes.” If Mr. Franklin was still around today, he might have added “debt” to his list of certainties.

Those immortal words make you think, what happens to your debt after you die?

Well, in most cases: you’re still on the hook.

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After you die, your remaining debts become the responsibility of your estate. Your estate is money and other assets, such as property, you may have wanted to distribute to your loved ones.

Your estate will be liquidated and distributed by an executor to creditors before they reach your heirs. If you had co-signers or joint account holders connected to any of your debts, they will still be responsible for paying off the remaining balances.

In the event there isn’t enough money in your estate to pay off creditors, and there are no cosigners to your debts, creditors are basically out of luck.

An important thing to remember is that creditors typically can’t collect on your retirement accounts or life insurance benefits. In fact, many people use their life insurance policy to protect those who would be responsible for paying off their debts.

Don’t let your credit cards keep you in an endless cycle of debt. You have a way out.

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