Re: upon death who is responsable for payment of debt?
All I know about this I learned from a widow's forum I participated on frequently when my husband first died, and the contributors were from all over:
If a credit card or any other debt was solely in the decednent's name, the agreement signed solely by the decedent, then the creditor cannot collect on the debt. Say the house was in joint tenantship, with the surviving spouse automatically becoming sole owner, a creditor could not put a lien on the house if the surviving spouse was not a joint owner of the debt.
In my own case, being a renter (second wife), my husband out of work for several years while battling cancer, me missing a lot of (unpaid) time during his illness, final expenses...you get the picture...there was nothing for anyone to get, but other widows were more secure than me at the time of their husband's death, and any of his personal debt they could not get out of the widow. In one particular case the husband had been on a huge credit binging spree pre suicide and had even taken out a HELOC on the house, without his wife (joint tenant) signing the agreement, and she could not be held responsible for any of it.
I think AARP addresses this on their website, but am not sure.
The one thing I was hit with was a bit of back child support the ex had not reported receiving - the youngest had just hit the age when he would have been graduating college had he gone, so that is when the state was coming after this back support (that had been given to the ex in cash, big mistake) I got this form from the state "Injured Spouse" claim that I could fill out so that this debt would come off the records. That one I worked like hell to pay off because I just had this thing about it; I felt as though not paying that would be like denying these kids I had known since they were small boys. I did not have to assume the debt, though.