Credit card debt

by Jeffrey
(Spring Grove,Pa)

Do you have to pay credit card debt that han't been paid
since Apr. 2004 after a person dies ?

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Feb 23, 2014
Paying off deceased credit card debt
by: Anonymous

My deceased husband had a credit card in his name only. His will leaves everything to me as joint survivorship. I do not plan to probate his will. I live in Alabama. Am I responsible for paying this debt?

Reply from
Alabama is a separate property state, which means among other things that you are not obligated to pay the individual debts of your deceased spouse out of your own, separate property -- property that you own by yourself. However, you are obligated to pay your spouse's debt using the assets that were in your spouse's name only. So for instance, if your spouse had a bank account, a CD, or some other asset that was just in his name, then you are obligated to pay the credit card debt using the proceeds from one or more of the assets.

Jul 02, 2012
Credit card debt

It does not matter how old or new the debt is, you do not have to pay it, with one exception. If the debt was joint debt -- you and the other person both signed for the debt -- then you would be obligated to pay it.

When someone dies, that person's estate (everything he or she owned at the time of death and everything he or she owed), must go through the probate process. During that process, as many of that person's debts get paid out of his or her assets. To do that, some of the deceased's assets may have to be sold. If there is not enough money in the estate to pay all of the deceased's debts, the creditors who don't get paid are out of luck and they cannot look to other people to pay those debts, unless of course as I already indicated, any of the debts are joint debts. Another exception occurs in a small number of states that are community property states. (PA is not one of them.) In those states, spouses are equally liable for any and all debts the other runs up during their marriage, even if they do not sign for the debts. So, in these states if a spouse dies owing money and there is not enough in his or her estate to pay all of the debts, the other spouse is legally obligated to pay them.

Some debt collectors contact the relatives of deceased people and try to guilt them into paying the deceased's unpaid debts or imply that they are legally obligated to pay them. They are hoping that the people they contact do not understand what the law says about when a relative must pay the debts of someone who has died. For more information on this subject, I recommend you read this, medical debt collection.

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