Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Puerto Rico

Q: Is credit card inherited under the Puerto Rico law? I know some debt is but I am interested to know about credit cards.

My greataunt passed a few months ago. We notified the creditors and tried to cancel all cards. She left a will but the money she had was used for funeral and medical expenses in the months she was sick. She did leave some land though. Can the heirs in the will inherit the credit card debt? I know some debt is inherited but I am not sure if is all of them.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: According to Puerto Rico law, credit card debt is generally not inherited by heirs named in a will.

Specifically, Article 584 of the Puerto Rico Civil Code states that heirs are only responsible for a deceased person's debts up to the value of the property they inherit.

So if the only asset your greataunt left was some land, then the beneficiaries who inherit that land would not be personally responsible for paying off any remaining credit card balances she had.

The creditors could potentially make a claim against the estate for payment. But once the estate assets are exhausted, the debt does not transfer over to heirs.

So in your situation, since there were no estate funds left after paying funeral and medical expenses, the inheriting beneficiaries should not be on the hook for the credit card debt personally.

That said, it's still wise to formally notify all creditors of the death and close any open card accounts. But the credit card companies cannot force beneficiaries to pay those debts from their own assets or income. The debts would essentially be written off.

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