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Credit card debt after death

One of the many financial issues that may have to be addressed after a loved one’s death is his or her remaining credit card debt. Florida residents should be aware of how to handle this type of a liability.

Surviving family members may be liable for a deceased person’s debt if they applied for the account with the decedent. As a joint account holder or co-signer, the survivors are responsible for repaying the debt. Typically, authorized users are not. An individual who resides in a community property state and who was the decedent’s spouse could also be liable. However, this does not apply to separate debts, or credit card debts that the decedent acquired before the marriage.

Co-signers and joint account holders should inform the card issuer of the death of the account holder. A certified copy of the death certificate may suffice, but it is important to inquire about any other documents that may be required. Surviving family members cannot be forced to pay a debt that is not their legal responsibility. However, collectors and creditors may give the impression that this is untrue.

Unfortunately, these types of obligations will legitimately fall on the shoulders of the surviving family members or other beneficiaries under a decedent’s will. For some people, this will be an obligation that they are unable to meet on a timely basis. If negotiations with the creditor prove to be futile, they may want to meet with a lawyer to see if filing for personal bankruptcy would be an advisable step to take.

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