How Do We Deal With My 78 Year Old Mother and Her Chase Credit Card Debt? – Christi

“Dear Steve,

My mother is 78 years old and has one major credit card with Chase current balance is $16,575.00 . Mom is the only person on the account as our father passed away 25 years ago.

Mom has lived with me for the past 10 years. Her only income is her social security each month.

She always pays the minimum or a little more on her credit card each month so her credit is good. Unfortunately at 10.24% she is rarely reducing her balance.

My bother and I are willing to pay off her card and have her send us a check each month interest free until we are repaid. At the time of payoff we will cut up the credit card and ensure Mom only uses her debit card from her saving account for future purchases.

If my mother passes away prior to paying her credit card what happens to the balance owed?

I am not listed anywhere on her credit card but I am listed on her saving account so that if she is unable I can write checks for her. Do I have any personal risk to her credit card debt?

How do my brother and I negotiate a lower payoff amount for taking the age related risk away from Chase?


Dear Christi,

The good news is that you have no personal responsibility for the debt. When your mother passes away the creditor can only look to her estate for payment, not you or your brother.

If you wanted to settle the debt you will probably need to let the card get 90 days behind before you can get a reasonable deal out of Chase. You should expect to have to pay about $10,000 in a lump-sum settlement and this settlement will result in bad credit for your mom.

The worst part about the process will be the collection calls and letters. They are just stressful to live through for most people.

See also  My 78 Year Old Mother is Struggling Under Her Debt. - Dorothy

The real question here is what kind of assets does Mom have laying around and is it a reasonable approach to spend $10,000 to settle this debt or will she potentially need that money to care for her in case you are unable to care for her?

There are options here but I just need a bit more information.

Please update me on your progress by

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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.
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5 thoughts on “How Do We Deal With My 78 Year Old Mother and Her Chase Credit Card Debt? – Christi”

  1. my friend has 84 years mother  she paid $50000 down payment of the house in 2005 but after son marrid he kik mother from the house mother ask me for help she just collect this money for working take care of three children she need her money from son to buy house for her living how ican help or any body can help thank you

  2. I am trying to help my parents who are 76 and 80 years old.  They have 30,000.00 in Credit Card Debt. Mother without my knowing signed up with a consolidation company and agreed to have 800.00 taken out of her Checking Account monthly, they do not have this money available.  I now know they have been living on CC’s for the past couple of years.  They is no money available to make CC payments.  They are still paying on their home. I am not sure what to do to help them.  What would happen if they just did not pay the CC’s.  Would a lein be put on their house ?  would they be sued ?  Their only income is social security and a 100.00 check for retirement.  less than 2000.00 a month income.
    Thanks for your help.

  3. Steve,

    How wonderful to see your comments so quickly… THANK YOU!

    Mom has $3,500.00 in her saving account and that is all. No other assets of any kind. Sadly she lost everything when my father died. She worked years to pay off his debts which is the primary reason she is still in debt now. There are no issues with a bad credit report for her because she is no longer able to drive nor will she have need to make any sort of major purchase.

    She is on Medicare and in the event that she must be cared for beyond my abilities the expenses would have to be paid for by her monthly social security check and my brother and me.

    • Christi,

      We could have a long philosophical conversation about the fairness or life or the happenstance of circumstances. But sometimes the situation just is what it is. Nothing more, nothing less.

      Your mother needs to go bankrupt and discharge the Chase debt. Here is why.

      There is no expectation that she has the income or assets to be able to satisfy the debt at this point. Her Social Security income is designed to provide a minimal level of sustenance for her and it is not designed to pay debts which can no longer be afforded.

      It is also unreasonable that you and your brother should pay the Chase bill for your mother. You have no responsibility to do that and besides, I suspect that in your lifetime you will need to spend at least that amount in caring for your dear sweet mother before she passes away.

      I’m not trying to be callous or cavalier about the situation. I don’t take it lightly that she undertook the debt and made a promise to pay, but that is no longer reality, is it?

      Sure, she could lay bankruptcy aside and not file, but once she stops making the payments, and she will, she will wind up in collections, with pressure she does not need to be subjected to. Pressure and intimidation will not alter her reality, will it?

      Please make an appointment with a local bankruptcy attorney you like and go in with your mom and talk this over with the attorney. Your mom will probably be a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the door will be closed on the debt quickly and forever and then she can just focus on what tomorrow has to offer instead of trying to correct the mistakes of yesterday.



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