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Is a surviving widow responsible for spouse cc debt in his name only?

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Rookie68

New member
My father opened a card in his name only. He has since passed in June leaving the debt behind. Is my mother responsible for the card balance owed? She is not on the card. We have to go to the bank this week and provide a death certificate and I want to understand what legal recourse (if any) if we deny the debt. Thanks!
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
My father opened a card in his name only. He has since passed in June leaving the debt behind. Is my mother responsible for the card balance owed? She is not on the card. We have to go to the bank this week and provide a death certificate and I want to understand what legal recourse (if any) if we deny the debt. Thanks!
I'm very sorry for your loss....

What state is this in?
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
My father opened a card in his name only. He has since passed in June leaving the debt behind. Is my mother responsible for the card balance owed? She is not on the card. We have to go to the bank this week and provide a death certificate and I want to understand what legal recourse (if any) if we deny the debt. Thanks!
It depends on what state your parents live/lived in. You erased that question instead of answering it.
 

quincy

Senior Member
My father opened a card in his name only. He has since passed in June leaving the debt behind. Is my mother responsible for the card balance owed? She is not on the card. We have to go to the bank this week and provide a death certificate and I want to understand what legal recourse (if any) if we deny the debt. Thanks!
In Pennsylvania, your mother would not be responsible for any of her deceased spouse's debts if she was not a joint account holder or a cosigner on the debt. If a debt collector attempts to collect the debt from her, she can politely tell the debt collector to get lost.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
In Pennsylvania, your mother would not be responsible for any of her deceased spouse's debts if she was not a joint account holder or a cosigner on the debt. If a debt collector attempts to collect the debt from her, she can politely tell the debt collector to get lost.
There is one exception. If any of her husband's assets did not pass to her outside of the estate, then those assets would have to be used to pay any debts that he had before they could be distributed to his wife or anyone else that inherits. While most married couples are not likely to have anything that doesn't pass outside of the estate, there are some that do.
 

quincy

Senior Member
There is one exception. If any of her husband's assets did not pass to her outside of the estate, then those assets would have to be used to pay any debts that he had before they could be distributed to his wife or anyone else that inherits. While most married couples are not likely to have anything that doesn't pass outside of the estate, there are some that do.
The question is on credit card debt in the deceased spouse's name only.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
The question is on credit card debt in the deceased spouse's name only.
I understand that. I was talking about the fact that IF there is an estate and IF the estate has assets the estate must pay the deceased's debts before the widow could receive distribution of the assets. Therefore, the estate would have to pay that credit card debit, effectively reducing the assets that the widow would recieve, effectively making the widow responsible for the debt repayment.

Now, its not very likely that it would be the case that the deceased would have assets that would not pass outside of the estate, but its possible, and the possibility should not be ingnored.
 

Rookie68

New member
Please pardon my ignorance as I am not savvy at all on the legalities of what is correct. A little insight.. My parents married 30 years, joint assets, home, car, bank accounts. In addition, my father received a settlement from a class action suit which was put in a joint account. They have 2 credit cards...one is joint, and the other is not. My mother did not find out about this card until right before he passed. In the will everything is given to my mother. Giving this information...would she be responsible. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
Please pardon my ignorance as I am not savvy at all on the legalities of what is correct. A little insight.. My parents married 30 years, joint assets, home, car, bank accounts. In addition, my father received a settlement from a class action suit which was put in a joint account. They have 2 credit cards...one is joint, and the other is not. My mother did not find out about this card until right before he passed. In the will everything is given to my mother. Giving this information...would she be responsible. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Okay, let me try to explain. Any asset that was jointly in both of their names should pass to your mother outside of the estate. So, your mom wouldn't have to go through probate to claim those assets, they would just be hers.

Any assets that were solely in your father's name would cause the will to need to be probated to get those assets to your mother, and that would mean opening an estate.

If your father had no separate assets, so that everything passed to your mother outside of any estate, then no, she would not be responsible, either directly or indirectly for his separate credit card debt.

However, if its necessary to open an estate and probate his will for her to collect any assets that were solely in his name, then indirectly she would end up being responsible for the credit card debt because the estate would end up being responsible for the debt.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Please pardon my ignorance as I am not savvy at all on the legalities of what is correct. A little insight.. My parents married 30 years, joint assets, home, car, bank accounts. In addition, my father received a settlement from a class action suit which was put in a joint account. They have 2 credit cards...one is joint, and the other is not. My mother did not find out about this card until right before he passed. In the will everything is given to my mother. Giving this information...would she be responsible. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Your mother should not worry about having to pay any credit card that was in your dad's name only. Pennsylvania is not a community property state.

If your mom is worried, she can speak to a local attorney who can reassure her.
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
NO rookie68 absolutely not! The spouse is not responsible for any debt in any state if their name is not on the deceased card.
Not any state!

Also you do not have to send a DC to the credit card company. You can in order for them to stop calling and sending letters.
OP was already advised that.
 

quincy

Senior Member
... The spouse is not responsible for any debt in any state if their name is not on the deceased card.
Not any state!


Also you do not have to send a DC to the credit card company. You can in order for them to stop calling and sending letters.

Credit card balances are not related to the estate. Sometimes the balance has to be paid but do not lose sleep over the balance and it being paid. ONCE the card holder is deceased the company cannot collect.
The information you provided is wrong, Bee_Tee. There is a difference between Pennsylvania (the state where Rookie68 lives) and community property states.
 

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