credit card debt collection vs a 401K

by Greg

My mother’s husband died recently. He had credit card debt. The only thing he had left to my mother was a 401(K). Can they or a collection agency on their behalf, collect from a 401K, or file legal action to sue my mother for his debt and then seize the debt amount from a 401K? California is the state of which they lived.

Reply from

We are sorry to hear of the death in your family. We are not estate planning attorneys and can't give legal advice. Generally speaking, retirement accounts can't be attached by creditors. But we assume that the creditors are going to try to collect from your mother so it would be a good idea for her to talk with an estate planning attorney to find out what is safe from creditors and what may not be. That way she won't get talked into any bad decisions about how to handle these debts and she will be more confident in handling them.

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