Do I have financial liability for my life partner's debt?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

I live in Nevada. My life partner of 18 year recently passed away. We never did marry. He has some outstanding debt, which includes credit cards and medical bills. He has no estate, or will. Can I be held liable for his debts?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a 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.

You should not be responsible for your life partner’s debts unless you agreed to be liable for them-by being jointly listed on the account, for example, or signed an agreement with the doctors or hospital that you would pay the bills.

This doesn’t mean that the credit card companies and medical billing offices won’t attempt to get some money from you to cover the debts. They may ask; but stand firm in your resolve, pointing out that the debt is not yours.

It is unusual, however, for a person to die as you describe: owning no property at all. What usually happens to a person's debt at death is that all creditors are notified -- and the outstanding debts are ranked in a hierarchy set out in state law and paid off from remaining property."¨If there isn't enough property to satisfy the creditors, they are usually simply out of luck and out of pocket.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...