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Liability for Parent's Debts

Question: How can I ensure that any debt my mother incurs, I will not be liable for? My mother has a $25,000 credit card bill, limited income, a mortgage (which is current) and several other credit cards which she has defaulted on. The $25,000 credit card is current. Her credit score is in the low 600’s if that. She refuses to consider bankruptcy. She is 72 1/2 and I want to make sure that I cannot be held liable for any of her debt, other than the student loan I co-signed for her. Also, I gave her a credit card to use for food and gas. The card has her name on it but is linked to my account. I pay that bill on time but does giving her the card imply that I am allowing her to open credit in her name using my information?

Answer: In Illinois, absent a signed writing you are not liable to pay the debts of a parent. Gratuitously paying the bills of another does not without more make you liable for bills that are not paid.

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