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Am I Responsible to Pay for My Dead Husband’s Debts? – Linda

By on January 22, 2010
Am I Responsible to Pay for My Dead Husband’s Debts? – Linda

Linda

“Dear Steve,

My husband passed away and now Bank of America wants to know when I’m going to pay off his credit card.

Am I responsible to pay off my husbands credit cards ? If so is it possible to have the payoff amount lowered ?

Linda”

Dear Linda,

Bank of America might want you to pay off your husbands debts, but they can’t. Any debt in your husbands name alone is not your responsibility unless it was a joint debt.

Another rarer exception is if you were an authorized user that continues to use the account long after the debt of the primary account holder.

If the debt was only in the name of your husband than Bank of America can only look to the estate of your husband for payment.

I would suggest that you go and see a local attorney to assist you with this so you can chop Bank of America off at the knees here. The pursuit of relatives is picking up steam. Collectors will try anything to get payment, legal or not.

If you want to see what debts you might have been a joint account holder of I would urge you to get a copy of your consolidated credit report. You will need a consolidated credit report to show you what is said by all three credit bureaus. Take this consolidated credit report with you to the lawyers office. If the credit report shows that you were not a “J”, joint account holder, a letter from the lawyer should end this and by this time next week you’ll be done with it.

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READ  "Bank of America's Message to Me Was Tough Shit!"

About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

10 Comments

  1. Sybil

    September 15, 2011 at 6:36 am

    My late husband had a personal debt with a fuel station. He had made friends with the owners, and we had a little corporation at the time. The fuel was to help us to float and work until we got paid for the jobs we had done. Well, he died before he got it paid off and after his death, I had to close the corporation and file Chapter 7. I did neglect to list this debt on the bankruptcy and now these people are trying to threaten me in to paying them. Is there anything they can do? I live in Oregon and lived here at that time. Thanks!

    • Steve Rhode

      September 15, 2011 at 1:36 pm

      I am not a lawyer and you should certainly consult with a lawyer in Oregon about this matter. But I can share my observation. 

      If you did not personally sign for the fuel then it seems the company can only look two places for payment, your husbands estate or the corporation. Additionally, if the claim is you are personally responsible for the debt, talk to your bankruptcy attorney. Just because it was not listed does not mean it was not discharged. It was not reaffirmed either.

  2. Steve Rhode

    June 1, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Was the debt in your name?

  3. Linda

    June 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    i got a letter from a company that i owed them for a broadcast charges, only after more than eight years they sent me the notice, as for my knowledge, debts, if not inform after five years, we are not liable for the payment, is it true, moreover i cant recall, the debt owe, thought its less than five hundred..

  4. Linda

    June 1, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    i got a letter from a company that i owed them for a broadcast charges, only after more than eight years they sent me the notice, as for my knowledge, debts, if not inform after five years, we are not liable for the payment, is it true, moreover i cant recall, the debt owe, thought its less than five hundred..

  5. Steve Rhode

    January 26, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    How does BoA report the card on your credit report, as an authorized user ‘A’ or as a joint account holder ‘J’?

    Steve

  6. Laura G.

    January 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    I was an authorized user on my husbands Bank of America Mastercard. However, I was not aware that I was just an authorized user, I thought I was a joint owner. So after my husband died I continued to use the Mastercard. Bank of America called me almost five years later and informed me that they were closing the account and they quit sending me monthly billings statements. I had been paying on the balance of the debt for the five year period. I was in good standing with them and making regular payments. Then after they closed the account without any further notice the outstanding balance showed up as a bad debt on my credit report against my social security number. If there is nothing in my late husbands estate for Bank of America to go after can they file this bad debt against my social security number with the three credit bereaus?

  7. Laura G.

    January 26, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    I was an authorized user on my husbands Bank of America Mastercard. However, I was not aware that I was just an authorized user, I thought I was a joint owner. So after my husband died I continued to use the Mastercard. Bank of America called me almost five years later and informed me that they were closing the account and they quit sending me monthly billings statements. I had been paying on the balance of the debt for the five year period. I was in good standing with them and making regular payments. Then after they closed the account without any further notice the outstanding balance showed up as a bad debt on my credit report against my social security number. If there is nothing in my late husbands estate for Bank of America to go after can they file this bad debt against my social security number with the three credit bereaus?

    • Steve Rhode

      January 26, 2011 at 10:51 pm

      How does BoA report the card on your credit report, as an authorized user ‘A’ or as a joint account holder ‘J’?

      Steve

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