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credit debt upon death

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? Michigan

Hi. My father passed away recently, and all of the credit cards he had were soley in his name, not joint accounts with my mother. I was told by one creditor that since her name was not joint account holder, only authorized user, she is not responsible for the debt and to not pay it. That creditor has since written it off as a decedent account, along with one other creditor. The rest however have not and want whatever they can get of course. She has written them each letters and sent copies of the death certificate to each creditor. There is no estate, no assets, no life insurance money (it paid for the funeral).
Is the information from the first creditor really accurate, in that she is not responsible for debt my father acquired in his name, and should be written off as a decedent account?? Thanks... :)


Senior Member
The first creditor is correct.

Credit card debt is not passed on to heirs when a loved one dies, but it can still affect you. When someone dies with debt, credit card companies will first try to collect from the deceased’s estate. If there is not enough money in the estate, heirs may have to sell assets from the estate in order to cover the liabilities.

So, even though the heirs are not directly responsible for the debt, they may have to sell assets they were expecting to keep in order to repay the deceased’s financial obligations.

If, after assets are sold, there still is not enough money in the estate to cover the remaining debt, the company that issued the credit card will write off the debt. Usually, a death certificate is required as proof. Family members are not legally liable for any debt.

Be careful, however, if you are a joint account holder on a credit card. If you have a card in common with someone, you are responsible for the debt on that account if the other account holder dies.

Also, if there were shared assets such as a home in both names, bank accounts, autos and such, the companies can come after his portion of those assets.

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