Can a credit card company turn over the last balance on my recently deceased father's credit card debt to a collection agency -- already??

by Daughter #1
(San Francisco)

My father died 6 weeks ago. I attended the service and while there, tried to deal with financial items. One was the balance on his credit card. The total was inaccurate due to a very delayed credit for returned item ..which had yet to be credited. It was not credited until after he died. I was trying to get the credit, and the final total for the bill. Had a friendly conversation with a customer service person and informed them he had died.
Now, with no more discussion, when I called the card company, I am referred to a collection agency! We will not be able to pay the bill for a while (probate) and unfortunately Dad left nothing in his account.. Not sure yet what we will do, but we did not refuse to pay,,just cannot do so at this point, and it will be a few months before we really know. Is it legal to turn over a debt of a deceased person (wife deceased). (in California)

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