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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May 23, 2013
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: Debtcollectionanswers.com

At this point, it's irrelevant as to whether the debt is with a debt collection agency or still with the creditor. In either case, once the probate process has been initiated, there is a process that creditors and collectors must follow in order to be paid out of your father's estate (the assets he owned at the time of his death), and some debts are more important than others in that process. In other words, a particular creditor or a debt collector cannot jump ahead of everyone else to get its money.

Also, if there is not enough money in your father's estate to pay everything he may have owed, certain kinds of creditors, like credit card issuers or collectors may end up with nothing. If that's the case they cannot look to you or to any of his other family members to pay the unpaid debt, unless it was a joint debt between your father and a family member or unless a family member cosigned for the debt.

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