Do my children have to pay my debts when I die?


Q. Are my kids obligated for my debt when I pass? I only have a life insurance policy.
— Still here

A. We’re glad to see you’re trying to plan ahead and look out for your children.

If you designated your children as beneficiaries of the life insurance policy, then the policy proceeds would not have to be used to pay the decedent’s last debts, said Shirley Whitenack, an estate planning attorney with Schenck, Price, Smith & King in Florham Park.

“However, if there are no beneficiary designations it is likely that the policy proceeds would be paid to the estate and would then have to be used to pay the decedent’s last debts,” she said.

Email your questions to .

This story was originally published on April 20, 2020. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.