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My husband still owes nearly $50K in student loans. We’re approaching retirement in the next 5 years. It’s a dark scenario, but I need to know: If he were to die before me, would I be legally responsible for this massive debt since I’m his wife?


You sound like a worrier, but your anxiety would probably be better directed elsewhere. Assuming you live in Florida, as your “Ask the Expert” handle suggests, then all debts that are in your husband’s name only – meaning that you did not cosign for the loans – will be canceled if he dies. If you lived in a community property state like California, Texas, Washington or Wisconsin, then many debts would be shared – in death and in life – whether you cosigned for them or not. But even then, if your husband has federal student loans, the obligation is his alone, wherever you live. The only way that the loans would become your responsibility if he died is if you lived in a community property state and the loans were private. So don’t worry.
-Conrad de Aenlle