It is possible that Florida residents will have debt when they pass away. However, it is generally not a surviving family member’s responsibility to pay off student loan, credit card or other balances that remain after a loved one dies. Generally speaking, the deceased person’s estate is responsible for paying his or her debts. If there isn’t enough money to pay them in full, a creditor may be required to forgive a balance.

Exceptions may be made if a relative cosigned a loan or was named on a credit card account. In either of these scenarios, a creditor may be within its rights to collect money that it is owed from a surviving family member. Individuals who receive death benefits from a life insurance policy a deceased person owned are generally not considered part of an estate. Therefore, they may be shielded from creditors trying to collect a debt.

It is worth noting that an individual can pay down a debt balance on a deceased relative’s behalf. If a debt was secured by collateral, a creditor may be able to seize the property if new payment arrangements cannot be made. For instance, a surviving spouse may have to either sell a house or refinance a home loan if the mortgage wasn’t paid in full.

The loss of a loved one may be an emotional event in a person’s life. A probate and estate administration attorney may be able to help a person go through the process of settling an estate in a timely manner. An attorney may also ensure that tax returns are filed, assets are transferred and bills are paid in a timely manner.