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Dealing with credit card debt after death

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2017 | Bankruptcy

Many Texas families are overwhelmed with tasks and concerns as well as grief after the death of a loved one. Not only do they need to emotionally process the loss, there are a number of practical arrangements that must be immediately addressed. Some of those include financial matters and the resolution of an estate, even if the decedent had very limited assets.

One of these concerns can be the credit card debt owed by a person. There are a few common scenarios that tend to govern credit card debt after death.

When people die with credit card debt in their name only, the situation is rather simple. The card company can try to collect the debt from the estate, but after the estate is exhausted, the debt is extinguished on death. However, in community property states like Texas, if the deceased person was married, the debt may be considered marital debt and the surviving spouse could be held responsible.

If there was an authorized user on the card, that person generally has no responsibility for the debt. However, an authorized user must stop using the card after the account holder’s debt. On the other hand, a joint cardholder or a co-signer who shares responsibility for an account is fully responsible for the balance of the card account, even if one of the account holders dies.

Death can hit hard, especially for people with community property debts or joint accounts with insurmountable balances. An attorney can assess a client’s situation in order to determine whether filing for bankruptcy would be an appropriate form of debt relief.