If I declare my mother as a dependent am I liable for her credit card debt?

1 answer | Last updated: Apr 26, 2010
A fellow caregiver asked...

I declare my mother as a dependent because I provide her with a furnished house and some of the utilities. She has great credit card debt. Am I responsible for this debt when she dies due to the fact that I declared her my dependent?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

 Not likely. You are generally responsible only for credit card debts on your own accounts or arguably on accounts where you have accepted and used a card.

You should not be responsible for your mother’s debts unless you agreed to be liable for them-by being jointly listed on the account, for example.

And as you probably know very well by seeing your mother struggle, it can be horribly stressful to live with debts—particularly for an older person. To get free advice and counseling, encourage your mom to contact the Consumer Credit Counseling Service