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My wife just died and has credit cards in her name. do I have to pay them off.

Severn, MD |

Do I hbave to pay my wifes credit card debts.

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Attorney answers 3


It depends. You need to advise the credit card companies that your wife died. If you open an estate, they may be able to file a claim in the estate. If she had no assets of her own, you may be able to avoid paying anything. Do not sign anything that the credit card companies give you.


If you were not a guarantor on the cards, you are not personally responsible for the debt. However, the debt will have to come out of her estate. Did she have a wlll? Have you opened up a probate matter? Are you the executor? The executor will be responsible for gathering her assets and liabilities and distributing accordingly.


After a relative dies, the last thing grieving family members may expect are calls from debt collectors asking them to pay their loved one’s outstanding debts. A surviving relative usually has no legal obligation to pay the debts of a family member who has died. In fact, the rights of surviving relatives are covered by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you.

Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them.

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