Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Ohio

I live in Ohio. My mother passed away and in the will she left her home (with no mortgage) to my sibling. My deceased mother left behind approx. $15,000.00 in unsecured credit card debt. She is the sole owner of the debt (no joint credit or authorized users). She left behind a car (fully paid), several life insurance policies and a few savings accounts. Will the credit card debt need to be paid and if so, how? What recourse do the creditors have? We don't know how to handle collection calls. She had credit protection on some of the cards.

Asked on 1/20/11, 8:37 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Anthony Rifici Rifici Law Office
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I am sorry to hear of your recent loss.

The unsecured credit card debt may be a valid debt of your mother's estate. In Ohio, creditors have 6 months from the date of death to present a claim against the estate. The technical nature of presentment in Ohio is worth noting. The claim must be presented to the administrator of executor of the estate within the 6 month time period, or else the claim is barred from enforcement against assets of the estate. Thus, it becomes important whether or not an administrator or executor has actually been appointed. If none has been appointed, the creditor can seek appointment, but it would be unlikely they would do so for this level of debt.

There may be other options for dealing with the creditor, including negotiation of a partial settlement. I suggest that you promptly contact an experienced Probate lawyer to review the situation in detail and give you guidance on the specific options and course of action.

My office is located in western Cuyahoga County, in Westlake, Ohio, and can be reached at 440.899.7710 in the event we can be of further assistance to you.

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1/26/11, 8:22 am

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