Your debt does not automatically go away when you die. It is unfortunate, but creditors and the government still want to try to collect their money. After your death, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, whoever manages your estate will take on the responsibility to pay debts that you owe on your behalf from the estate. This means that if you have a lot of debt, it could deplete your estate.
Taxes and some other debts may come directly from your estate funds and when those funds run out, the creditor can no longer collect on them. However, there are other situations where another person may become responsible for your debts.
If your estate cannot pay off a secured debt, then the lender may repossess the asset securing the loan. This could happen with a vehicle or real property. Alternatively, a lender may allow an heir to take over the responsibility of the loan. In some cases, your spouse may have to pay certain debts do to an obligation under the law. It is also possible for a creditor to hold a co-signer responsible for the debt or if you had a joint applicant on a loan or account, then that person also may end up responsible for the debt.
Your debts stick around and creditors will try to get their money through any legal means possible. That is why you should be aware of your debts and create a plan to pay for them in your estate. This will help to avoid using inheritance to pay for debts out of the estate or leaving someone else to pay the debt.