Is there a pending probate? If so, you can advise the collection agent that they need to submit a claim. If you are the estate personal representative and receive the claim and there sre no estate funds to pay it, them you can simply deny the claim. If no probate, and the card was solely in your husband's name, you can do as Atty. Bunce suggests and send them a copy of the death certificate along with a letter advising them that you do not have any money to pay the debt and tbat you will not pay and that they sre not to contact you again. Then if they contact you again, they will be in violation of the FDCPA. Their options tben will be to drop the matter or file a lawsuit against you (since in California, as a community property state, both spouses are equally responsible for the debts of the other. If you receive a lawsuit on this, you should consult with a local attorney for othee defenses and exemptions that can be raised at that time.
Send the creditor/collector a copy of the death certificate. Unless your name was on the account, the only way the creditor can force the repayment of this claim is if your husband's property has to be administered through the probate courts. Hope this perspective helps!
In addition to Attorney Bunce's fine answer, I would simply add that if the collection agency is harassing you, you can hire an attorney to represent you and thereafter, the collection agency MUST contact only the attorney. Otherwise, it is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the creditor can be subject to very heavy sanctions. Many times, an attorney will agree to represent you for a nominal fee, in order to get the creditor off your back.
***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!
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