Many companies featured on Money advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research determine where and how companies may appear. Learn more about how we make money.

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

By Jennifer Calfas
March 22, 2017

Americans will likely take their debt to the grave.

New data shows that 73% of American consumers die in debt. The average total balance left over is $61,554 (and that includes mortgage debt). The numbers come from Experian FileOne and Credit.com, which examined the average debt of people who were alive in October 2016 but died in December 2016.

Of the 73% who died with debt, the most common kind of debt was from credit card balances. Mortgage debt, outstanding auto loans, personal loans and student loans followed, in that order. On average, the remaining unpaid balances included $25,391 in student loans, $4,531 in credit card debt, $17,111 in auto loans and $14,793 in personal loans.

What happens to the debt after someone dies depends on the type of debt, as Money has reported. For example, if the person who died was married and cosigned a loan with his or her spouse, the spouse will be responsible for the outstanding debt. But, with personal loans like credit card debt, those left behind will not be responsible for the deceased person’s debt. Creditors can make claims on the estate before assets are distributed after a family’s loss.

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

EDIT POST