Here’s an example. A few years ago we were remodeling our home. My wife and I opened a separate checking account and put all of our remodeling money in there. It was easier to keep the money separate, but we both had access and were involved in the account.
Understand, this wasn’t a “his” and “hers” arrangement. It was merely for the purposes of keeping our everyday activities separate from the remodeling budget. When you get married the preacher proclaims you as one. That means throughout life and everything involved, including your finances!
When you die, what you own stands good for what you owe. So anything he owned—perhaps his and your mother’s home—would have to stand good for it. This means that while your mom isn’t liable, the student loan would have to be cleared as if it were a normal debt in order for your mom to keep, free and clear, any of the stuff your dad owned.
There’s another possibility also. Federally insured student loans do not count against your estate when you die. If you pass away or become permanently disabled, the loan is forgiven. I believe that’s true for co-signers as well, but make sure you check into the situation carefully. We’re talking about the federal government, and they don’t usually operate in the realm of common sense!
Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough,The Total Money Makeover andEntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.
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