Q&A: Defining contingent liabilities

May 8, 2009

My bank's personal financial statement form asks if I have any contingent liabilities or obligations. What does that mean?

Q: My bank's personal financial statement form asks if I have any contingent liabilities or obligations. What does that mean?



The document you signed is enforceable against you given certain circumstances, usually when the primary party can't pay as agreed. Common liabilities that are overlooked are personal guarantees on office space or equipment leases, and pending or threatened litigation. View contingent liabilities seriously and shy away if you have significant exposure that could stretch your capacity to pay up.


Send your money management questions to memoney@advanstar.com (please include your regular postal address). Answers to our readers' questions were provided by Steve Austin (left), executive vice president of Commerce Bank in Tulsa, Oklahoma.