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My Husband Died. How Can I Get Creditors to Stop Calling Me?

Hi ! MY NAME IS LILLIE, In the state of Tex. old bills 4 yrs. or more should be desolved. and a lot of those bills was here when my husband was living. My husband took care of the bills, In 2001 he got colon cancer & he died in 09. how can I get the creditiors to stop calling me. I change my number and that do not help……. I have no money, my husband was my support…WHAT CAN I do . PLEASE HELP ME……

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My Husband Died. How Can I Get Creditors to Stop Calling Me? by

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  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.huffer Matthew Huffer

    When my father passed my mom had to go through the same thing. He had racked up a good bit of debt and it took our friendly neighborhood attorney sending some quite virulent letters to get them to back off. There are obviously people on here much more versed than I am in the exact steps to take but one thing I would definitely warn you about is do not pay ANY of the loans until you have sorted out the dates and responsibility on any debt.

    If it’s in your husband’s name only you may not be liable for the debt but they may try to trick you; some companies had begun to send my mother bills (that were previously only in her husband’s name) in both his and her name so that if she paid it would be an admission of responsibility.

    Good luck and as with all things be patient!

  • mary

    I’m so sorry for your loss.To have to deal with all of the financial difficulties after losing your husband must be very difficult. I hope it all works out for you somehow. Best of Luck.
    Sincerely,
    Mary

  • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

    I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your husband. I recently lost my mother to cancer as well.

    We previously wrote a guide on this subject that may provide significant help. See http://getoutofdebt.org/19390/widow-or-widower-how-to-handle-the-bills-after-the-death-of-a-loved-one

    Rather than focus on the calls, we need to first focus on the debt and find out of this is joint debt or you live in a community property state. If the debt was only in his name and you do not live in a community property state than these situations are often quickly and simply resolved by sending the creditors an original copy of the death certificate to show his passing.

    Ignoring the calls without understanding if you may be responsible for them would be a mistake. Let’s get the facts first.

    Maybe you can post an update about what state you live in and if the debts were joint or in his name alone.

    Steve

  • Cheryl6075

    I’m sorry for your loss.  You need to notify all collection calls that your husband has passed and that you are going to contact the goverment if they do not stop harrassing you.  I believe it is the FTC.  That should scare them.   

    You need to make sure the bills are actually 4 years overdue.  When did you stop paying?  You should also run a credit report to see what is going on with your credit.  Annualcreditreport.com is a good site to use as it is free.

    Good luck.

  • LillieHelper

    Ideas:

    Double check and make sure that the debts have not been paid for 4 or more years. For the ones you are certain have not been paid for 4 or more years – answer the collection calls and come across confused about what this is all about. Tell them if you owe something, or if your husband did before his passing – you want to make good on it. You wont even consider it unless they send you some information in the mail and you will go look it up with some papers you put in the attic. You are not crawlin up to the attic for no reason until you get the letter. When you get the letter you will get their return address. Send them a letter in response that says:

    Dear collector,
    I am notifying you to cease contacting me.
    I am notifying you that this debt is outside the statute of limitations here in Texas.

    Sincerely,
    Lillie

    If they send you letters without calling and the account is for certain past 4 years of being paid – do the same thing – send the letter.

    Send letters certified mail return receipt. It will cost a little more than a stamp, but its worth it.

    Why do this? Debts don’t really go away, but the debt collectors barking at you can have their teeth removed in certain situations. When the debts are past the statute of limitations they cannot sue legitimately to collect (they can – but you answer that with the fact that the debt is time barred – and you do have to answer if they sue!). You have the legal right to tell a debt collector to go pound sand by sending a letter telling them to cease communicating with you. The danger of doing so is that it leaves no other option to collect but to sue you. Since the debt is beyond the legal time frame for a legitimate collection suit – you are outside of the risk of them suing when sending them the “go pound sand” letter (more politely worded of course).
    Sending the cease communication letter certified return receipt is how you prove you sent it and that they got it. Keep the green card you get back in the mail along with a copy of the letter you sent in a safe place. If they continue to call and write you after that look up a a good consumer attorney in your state and talk with them about the issue. Look for one that has “Fair Debt Collection” experience. If you find one in TX, but they are far away, as them for a referral. An attorney with a fair debt collection practice most of the time does not charge you a penny for helping you. Their fees for the legal help they provide you are paid by the debt collector breaking the law.

    Lillie, I am out of ideas. You said you have no money. If you had some I would have some more ideas. You don’t need much money to follow the outline above though. Just a couple bucks for certified return receipt mailing for each letter you send.

    Don’t be surprised if you do get contacted by the debt collector after they get your letter. It does not mean this concept is not working. It just means the collector does not care about your rights or the law. That’s why calling a consumer attorney if that happens is important. It will lead to that collector leaving you alone, and may even cause them to change their bad behavior (one can hope).
    Also – don’t be surprised if another, totally different collector contacts you later about the same debt. If that happens it does not mean the process did not work. It means it did work -  and that the prior debt collector or junk debt buyer sold your account to some other junk debt buyer (sucker) even though the debt is no good and cannot be collected on.

    On second thought, I do have more ideas – and here they are:

    1. RELAX….. the debts that are more than 4 years old cannot really hurt you.

    2. If you follow any of the outline above – come back to this page and post updates or ask questions if you have any.

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