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Do children inherit parent's debts?

Updated: Aug 11, 2019

I was recently asked:

"A friend of my daughter told her that when a parent passes away his or her debts [bank overdraft, social security etc] are passed on to the children even if they didn't sign. This doesn't seem right. Is this the law in Israel?"

And I recently answered:

"This is a common misconception. Debts do not pass on to children, spouses etc when a person passes away. The debts remain part of the estate (= izavon עיזבון) because the estate is the net worth of a person, assets minus debts. When a person passes away the inheritors inherit the estate. Inheritors could be the children or the beneficiaries to the will. If there are debts these must be paid before the assets are given to the inheritors. Children per se do not pay the debts any more than other inheritors do; the estate pays the debts. If the assets are not substantial enough to pay the debts, the creditors will not get paid. As far as I know this is the law in most places in the world and it is the law in Israel.


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