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Credit Card Debt Basics: On Debt Responsibility

It’s not surprising that many debt collection companies will try to take advantage of grieving families to cash in on a deceased’s account. In fact, some do call up a grieving family member and would try to use the deceased’s name to make their kin pay for the outstanding balance. Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are not allowed to use deceitful collection efforts to satisfy a debt.

Unless, you are the debt’s co-signer or shared a joint account with the deceased, you do not have responsibility over the debt at all, even if you were the spouse. The same can be said for the deceased’s offspring, they are not responsible for the debt after death.

Settling a Deceased’s Debts

The executor of the estate is the one responsible for all dealings, including outstanding balances, of the deceased. This is why the debt collector should contact the executor of the estate to collect, not the immediate family of the deceased. Unfortunately, some debt collectors do prey on unsuspecting family members so make sure you don’t fall for this tactic and start familiarizing yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA. Below is an outline of steps you can take to avoid being taken advantage of debt collectors:

One: A Cease and Desist letter has to be sent via certified mail with return receipt requested for persistent collectors who kept calling you or sending you notices about the deceased’s outstanding debts.

Two: Create a good record of all conversations with the debt collector, especially if they are trying to make you feel guilty or use unsavory language just to collect the debt. You can consult an attorney and file a complaint for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Three: Make the executor if the estate request validation of the debt before you hand over the payment! Don’t just pay for anyone’s debt just because you were told by a debt collector about it.

Always keep the above tips in mind if you are dealing with a debt collector from a dead relative’s due debts. Remember; don’t be too quick to hand over your hard earned cash just because someone claims that a debt has been left unpaid by a deceased family member. Check if the debt is valid, within statutes and make the executor of the estate demand a debt validation.

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