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


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.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.


About the author

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.


  • 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!

    • 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.

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