Am I Responsible for My Deceased Spouse’s Pre-marriage Debts?

Home/Consumer Issues, Credit Report, Debt Relief Agencies/Am I Responsible for My Deceased Spouse’s Pre-marriage Debts?

Message from Diane L. Drain

In this blog I will examine financial concerns that affect us all (yes, even those who believe they are financially secure) and to offer a peek behind the ‘financial curtain’. The primary goal of our office is to give our clients what they value most – peace of mind. There are many ways to deal with financial problems, including bankruptcy; but for every good option there are hundreds of scams.

Warning: Laws governing situations differ state to state. Make sure to talk to an experienced attorney about your unique circumstances.

NOTE: This is not intended to be legal advice.

This area of law turns on specific facts and applicable state law(s). 

bankruptcyIt is almost impossible to give a single answer for what you may think is a simple question.  First, the law of the state where you live or lived may control.  Second, a prior marriage or debts taken out before the current marriage may affect the answer. 

With these warning here are some basics (but you MUST talk to an experience attorney):

  • The fact that the widow may have used the card during the marriage does not necessarily make her liable for the debt.
  • The debt may be charged against the community property of the spouses, but the creditor has a deadline to sue or file a claim in the decedent’s probate case.
  •  If the debt was incurred by the deceased in an earlier marriage was in a community property state, such as Arizona, the ex-wife may be obligated to pay the debt.

Again, all of this is very fact specific, but here is some basic Arizona law:

These are only two of hundreds of cases that may help with this question.



It is important you educate yourself whenever you have questions.  Never assume advice you find on the Internet or friends fits your unique situation.  If you need legal or medical advice it is important to remember that doctors and lawyers spend years learning answers to your questions.  That learning never stops because of changes in law or medicine.

Below is a video “Meet Diane Drain. Some Suggestions on How to Hire an Attorney”.  I hope this short video has some helpful suggestions.

Published On: February 3rd, 2015By Categories: Consumer Issues, Credit Report, Debt Relief AgenciesComments Off on Am I Responsible for My Deceased Spouse’s Pre-marriage Debts?Tags: , , ,

Share This post, Choose Your social network!

Diane is a well respected Arizona bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney. As a retired law professor, she believes in offering everyone, not just her clients, advice about bankruptcy and Arizona foreclosure laws. Diane is also a mentor to hundreds of Arizona attorneys. *Important Note from Diane: Everything on this web site is offered for educational purposes only and not intended to provide legal advice, nor create an attorney client relationship between you, me, or the author of any article. Information in this web site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an attorney familiar with your personal circumstances and licensed to practice law in your state. Make sure to check out their reviews.*
Go to Top