Don't forget the debt
When a loved one passes away, the last thing on your mind is hassling with debt collectors. But you may have the job of managing the deceased’s assets – and you could find yourself handling an estate that includes outstanding debts. Keep these considerations in mind:
- Debts don’t die when the debtor does. Even though your loved one is no longer here, those debts don’t go away. The debt is still a legal obligation that your loved one’s estate must deal with.
- Discussing the debt. Collectors are allowed to talk about the debt with certain people: the spouse, parents, or guardian of the deceased person, the executor, administrator, or anyone else who has authority to pay your loved one’s debts from their estate.
- Truth be told. Collectors cannot misrepresent anything about the debt they’re trying to collect. That means they can’t misrepresent or imply that you or any other survivor has a legal obligation to pay the estate’s debts out of your own pocket. It’s unlawful for them to pressure you to use your money. If the deceased left debts and no assets, it’s not your responsibility to pay.
- You have rights. If a debt collector contacts you, you can ask for a validation notice, dispute the debt with them, or tell them – in writing – to stop all communications with you and the estate.
Learn more about handling the debts of a deceased relative.