What happens to credit card debt when a person dies?

Credit card debt is not automatically wiped out when a person dies. Whether a credit card company can recover its debt depends on state law, the amount of property in the decedent’s estate, and if anyone else co-signed the obligation.

Generally, creditors are paid from assets that pass to the decedent’s estate and get administered through probate. This includes property devised or bequeathed in a will or not otherwise transferred by any other instrument. This means that creditors can’t go after property that goes directly to someone else upon death such as life insurance proceeds to a designated beneficiary, joint accounts with rights of survivorship, or money in transfer or payable-on-death accounts.

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