Q: Who is responsible for credit card debt of a person who dies without an estate?

A: When you die, whatever you leave behind becomes part of your estate. So if you have any retirement income, annuities, stocks, bonds, cash in a checking account, or if you own a house, furnishings, jewelry, artwork, clothing or a car, these all become part of your estate.

If you owe money and pass away, your estate will pay off those debts from the assets you have. If you have no cash, stock, or bonds, your furniture, car, and jewelry will be sold to pay off your debts. If you own nothing, your debts die with you.

This is what will typically happen with credit card debt. The only exception would be if the deceased had someone as a co-signer of the account, typically a spouse or child. If that’s the case, the credit card company could pursue the spouse or child for repayment.