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Here’s the situation: Husband and wife have done a pretty good job since getting married about 12 years ago. They have no debt except for a mortgage, live on what they earn, and are raising a family. However, husband’s parents are spending like there’s no tomorrow. Husband’s sister and her fiance are living with parents, paying no rent, parents are planning a lavish wedding (in the six-figure range) for sister, father-in-law is disabled and all of this is being financed through credit cards. Wife is concerned that after her in-laws pass away, she and her husband will be stuck with the parents’ debt because they will be the only ones with any financial resources.

The answer is “no” they won’t be saddled with the parents’ debt as long as they weren’t signers on the credit cards. Just because there are relatives with resources doesn’t entitle the credit card companies to come knocking at your door.

A bigger problem, though, is the moral obligation this husband and wife might feel for his parents should they outlive their money and become destitute. That could present a big problem and one that might cause a rift between husband and wife. It might be time for some intervention with the parents in the form of a family discussion about their (the parents’) financial future. Even if nothing comes of it, husband and wife might have a clearer conscience if the worst comes to pass.

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