What happens to your debt if you're declared dead, but aren't?

Let’s say your a member of the Oceanic Six (for those that don’t watch Lost, it’s the six people that (as far as the rest of the world knows) survived a plane crash and were stranded on an island for 108 days.)

After enough time (I assume when they officially stop looking for the lost plane, or boat, or what have you), you’re going to be declared dead, and there will probably be a funeral and everything. To simplify things, let’s say you have no will, are single, and have no immediate family members. Just a few aunts, uncles, and cousins.

But you also had a mortgage, student and car loans, credit card debt, etc…From what little I understand, your creditors “take” what they can from your estate to pay off what you would owe, correct? But lets’ say that aside from the house and car, you have no assets, so there is still a lot of debt when you are declared dead. Does it just vanish?

And regardless of what happens when you are declared dead, what do they all do when you’re found alive? Do you get it all back? Do they say “well…lucky you, no more loans!” (Even though they probably have your house, anyway…) Are you generally just f-ed in the A because now you have to work back up from basically nothing?

Giving the ol’ el bumpo.

Whenever somebody dies the ordinary way (with a body), etc., the estate’s assets pay off the debts. if there is an excess, the heirs get it. if there is a shortfall, the debts are writtten off by whoever they’re owed to. That’s just a cost of doing business for anyone who loans money.

The fact the deceased didn’t leave a body and so didn’t become legally deceased until some judge said so is immaterial. Once the judge says you’re dead, the rest of the legal machinery proceeds as with any other death.

I can’t say for sure what would happen if you then turned up alive.

You should also keep in mind that there are involuntary bankruptcies that come into play if you stop paying your debts. Such a bankruptcy would form an estate, sell off your assets to cover debts and cancel any (or most) remaining debts. It’s not unlike a decedent’s estate.

I guess one of the interesting legal questions is whether the creditors would get an involuntary bankruptcy sooner than you would be declared legally dead.

Either way, you would have something like a blank slate, much like a person who went through any bankruptcy. Presumably, there would be family members who would help you get some of what you had back.

If you are declared legally dead, your estate is settled up. The short answer about any residual debt is that the creditors now deal with it as bad debt. Bad debt vanishes for the debtor but the creditor has to deal with it…

If you show up alive, it would be a large legal mess that would depend on the circumstance of why you were declared dead in the first place. If the answer is “fraud” and your residual debt was large, it’s unlikely you’ll get assets back and your creditors could come after you for those assets, or any new assets.

If the answer for your reappearance is something besides fraud, and your estate has been liquidated, I suspect you’d have a better shot at getting prior assets back; however if your net estate was negative you don’t have any net assets to get back, do you? I don’t understand why you think an individual who had negative net assets is “f-ed in the A” in such a situation. Is it the case you think the debt should disappear with a mistaken death, but not the assets?