Question 1: Who is responsible for paying the deceased relatives debts?
In general, only a person who agreed to take on the debt is responsible for paying it back. For example, if your father dies and leaves behind $10,000 in credit card debts, you are not responsible for paying those back. The only situation in which you might have to pay them back is if you were a joint account holder on those same credit cards. In this situation you are obligated to pay the debts. Also, if you are the person who has assumed the legal responsibility to administer someone else’s estate, e.g., as an Executor or Trustee, you are responsible for paying the decedent’s bills but with the decedent’s assets, not your personal assets.
Question 2: The creditor tells me I have to pay. Can they do that?
A creditor may be able to try to convince you to pay for a deceased relative debt’s, but that is really just a tactic they used to try to get their money back. In order to recover the debt, the creditor will have to file a claim against your father’s estate. If they fail to do that, or if the statute of limitations has already expired, they may try to convince you to pay even though they you are under no obligation to do so.
Question 3: What if creditors keeps contacting me?
You have specific rights when it comes to dealing with creditors who are attempting to collect a debt. Federal law requires collectors to act responsibly and within the limits of specific regulations. If you are harassed, threatened, or otherwise mistreated by creditors, they have violated the law and you have the right to seek compensation. Speak to your lawyer for more information about your rights as a creditor and what you can do about harassing phone calls or contacts from creditors.
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