Will Student Loan Debt Haunt Your Family After Your Death?

One mourning family wants to ensure that it won't

dollar debtThroughout our work and research at SevenPonds, we stumble upon a number of issues surrounding the end-of-life that many people probably don’t think about day to day. After nearly two years with this team, I continue to be surprised by the things I learn, from the people I talk to and the information I find. This, once again, was the case a few weeks ago when an email landed in my inbox with the subject line, “Our daughter died — her student loans didn’t.”

Parents Michelle and Keith Norris have launched a petition to send to CitiBank, asking the giant to institute a policy of loan forgiveness when a student dies — rather than go after family members.

Remaining student loan debt is one issue that many of us probably don’t consider when thinking about getting their affairs in order before their death. The Norrises’ story certainly took me by surprise. If you’re moved by their hardship, please click over to the petition and help them send a message to CitiBank (and, by extension, all lending institutions) that debt-collectors are the last people grieving families want to contend with after the loss of a child.

from Michelle and Keith:

“Our daughter died — her student loans didn’t.”

“Our daughter Brittani was killed in a tragic and brutal car accident three days before her twenty-third birthday — just a week before her college graduation.

Brittani had dedicated her life to serving people and making people’s lives better. She had her whole life ahead of her.

When Brittani died, she still had student loans to pay off, and for more than three years Citibank demanded repayment from our family. While we grieved, Citibank continued to demand payment, and we struggled to pay these bills monthly.

Our family is lucky. After more than three years of begging and pleading with Citibank, we started an online petition. With the help of our friends, MoveOn, and so many others, our petition spread fast. And once Citibank started to feel public pressure, they agreed to forgive Brittani’s student debt.

But we’re not the only ones who have had this experience with Citibank and other big banks. Citibank received a taxpayer bailout, while most families get no help when they need it most.

No one should have to go through this kind of ordeal. Citibank should institute a policy of student loan forgiveness when a student dies and stop going after family members.”

As of this writing, they’ve gathered 112,853 signatures of their 125,000 goal — help them reach that goal! Click here to learn more and sign the petition.

For more information about what will happen with your estate after your death, see these posts from SevenPonds:

Image credit: Greg Dunlap (Creative Commons)

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One Response to Will Student Loan Debt Haunt Your Family After Your Death?

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