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What Happens to Credit Card Debt After Death?

When someone dies, does their credit card debt die with them? The answer is, it depends.

If sufficient assets are available in the estate after a debtor's death, credit card debt will be paid off by the estate executor along with the decedent's other debts. However, if there are not sufficient assets, then creditors are often out of luck - although many try to convince vulnerable family members that they owe the debt.

There are some instances when surviving family members may be liable for credit card debt of the decedent:

If a surviving family member was a joint account holder;

If a surviving ex-spouse agreed to pay off a joint credit card as part of the divorce settlement;

In community property states like California, if a surviving spouse or child inherits community property, they may be liable for the debt;

If you continue to use a decedent's credit card as an authorized user when you know the debt won't be paid.

When a family member dies, creditors should be notified immediately. You should also consult with an Irvine probate attorney before any debts are paid out of an estate so you are aware of exactly what debts the estate is liable for paying.

The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0042.

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