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Study finds many have outstanding debt when they die

While some people in Durham are able to live their lives debt-free, for many others, that simply is not possible. There are numerous reasons why people choose to take on debt, such as buying a home, starting a business or earning an education. Unfortunately, paying off that debt will not be a reality that everyone will be able to accomplish in his or her lifetime.

In fact, it has been found that of the people that pass away in this country, 73 percent do so with some form of outstanding debt. That conclusion was drawn after examining the debts of consumers who died over a three-month period in 2016.

The average outstanding balance of those who passed away was found to be $61,554. That number includes mortgage debt, which was held by 37 percent of deceased consumers. The leading cause of debt was credit cards. Other types of debts people held when they passed away were personal loans, car loans and student loans. For those who did not have a mortgage when they died, the average amount of debt was $12,875.

While a few types of debt may be discharged when a person dies, the remaining balances will become the responsibility of the deceased person’s estate. That means that the person’s heirs may not be left with much after all is said and done. However, there are steps that people who are having trouble making payments can take. Those who are struggling with overwhelming debt may wish to contact an experienced attorney.

Source:“ ABC News, “Americans are dying with an average of $62K of debt,” Christine Digangi, March 25, 2017

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