credit card debt
My husband recently passed away/ Am I liable for credit card debts which were in his name only?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Re: credit card debt
I'm sorry for your loss. A surviving wife is probably not liable for her decedent husband's debts. The husband's decedent estate might be liable, but chances are even the estate won't be paying any of the husband's debts. I say "probably" because there are a few circumstances where the spouse would be liable. If the husband's debts were incurred at the wife's direction, and if that could be proved, then the wife might be liable. However, the creditor would have to open an estate, and file a claim. The wife would then be entitled to claim a spousal allowance which would probably leave nothing for the creditor anyway. Your problem will be dealing with obnoxious debt collectors. Make sure you have several copies of the death certificate to send to inquiring creditors. And most importantly, never agree to pay anything, not a cent. Tell them to open an estate if they think there is anything to collect. Bear in mind that debt collectors often tell lies to induce people to pay on questionable debts. Ask the collectors for written statements of their claim, and send them a certified letter denying liability for the debt, announcing your husband's death, enclose the death certificate, and tell them never to contact you again. Keep a copy of the letter and the return receipt for evidence so your attorney can sue them for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Good luck.