My Elderly Mother Lives with me, Am I Responsible for her Debts?

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“My mother is 86 years old and lives with me in my home. Am I responsible for any of her debts such as credit cards or line of credit at her bank? The only thing I am on is her checking account with her.”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Generally speaking, unless you have specifically agreed to assume her debts, or have assumed some more specific form of guardianship or other decision-making responsibility for her, you will likely not be held responsible for her debts. Creditors may be able to go after assets that you hold jointly with her, such as the checking account, and if it came down to a legal battle or a bankruptcy, the court may allow them to investigate your finances to see if she had transferred any money to you to avoid being attached. If there is a chance that your mother is facing any kind of bankruptcy situation, you should help her locate a bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible; the longer you wait, the fewer options she may have for avoiding legal difficulties.



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Author: Ray Everett-Church, Esq.

Ray Everett-Church is a privacy and security consultant with PrivacyClue LLC and is co-author of "Internet Privacy for Dummies"