Seniors have been taking on more and more debt over the last two decades. Many times this can come as a shock to children when their parents die and they discover credit card and other debt left behind. Understanding the implications of the debt is important particularly for those responsible for administering the estate. Once the debt is discovered, the children often wonder if they are now on the hook for the debt. Generally, when a person dies, his or her estate is responsible for the debt and if there is not enough money to pay all the debt, then it will not be paid. A decedent’s retirement accounts like a 401(k) or IRA with a named beneficiary are not liable for the deceased person’s debts. If a loved one dies with a mortgage, the mortgage will be paid first (typically when the property is sold) and the balance paid to the heirs or beneficiaries. If the mortgage exceeds the value of the property, the creditor will be left with the unpaid debt.