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How do I handle creditors at the death of a sibling who has no estate.

Martinsville, VA |

My sister was not married. Has two children one 6 and one 21. She had no life ins of any kind. She was not married and owned nothing. Only thing remaining is a checking acct with less than 3K. She was on disability and the 6yr old drew also. Her father is living but does not work and not considered disabled. She filed bankruptcy 2 yrs ago in VA. She had major health problems which has left major medical debt. There is no will and no executor appointed. Funeral was prepaid by family member before death.

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Attorney answers 2

Best Answer

Please accept my sympathies on your sister's death. As Attorney Arujo stated, creditors will prey on anyone that they can. However, you have no obligation to pay any debt owed by your sister, nor does anyone else in the family. If the creditors call, be sure to obtain the name of the creditor and their mailing address. Then inform the caller that your sister is deceased and that they are not to call that number any more. For all creditors send them a letter that has your sister's name and billing address and the account number for the debt clearly visible. In the body of the letter state the date of your sister's death and that there are no assets in her estate. Also write that the creditors do not have permission to call you or to make contact with you. Be sure to include a copy of the death certificate. That should be sufficient notice so that most creditors will stop calling and writing. Send the letters by certified mail and be sure to keep a copy of the letter and the mailing receipt. If a creditor makes contact with you after you have sent notice, you may be able to bring a claim under the Fair Debt Collection laws.

This communication is provided with the understanding that it does not constitute the rendering of legal advice or other professional advice by Shoffner & Associates or its attorneys.


Unfortunately creditors are seeking money and they prey (at leasst some of the unscrupulous ones do) on families that have suffered a loss. By the way, my condolences.

You should state to all who call that the individual is deceased. Legitimate collectors will want a copy of the certificate of death. Make copies of it and send it to them.

If someone is really bothering you tel them "We dispute this debt". They are not supposed to call for 30 days after that.

Demand that all communications be in writing.

See if a sympathetic attorney will help you out and allow you to send the phone calls to their office. The calls stop soon after an attorney verifies that they have been retained.

If the calls get nasty, make sure you know who is calling. Write down all of their contact information so that an attorney who does "Fair Debt Collections Practices Act" work can sue them, write letters and cease the calls.

Again, God Bless and my condolences for your loss.