Credit Card Debt Collection upon the Death of a Loved One

Some people have a “zero balance” on their credit cards.  Many people, on the other hand, carry at least some debt on their credit cards and pay the monthly charges which may exist at the end of each monthly cycle.  Whether you are a person in the former category or a person in the latter category, everyone should know what happens to existing credit card debt when someone passes away as credit card companies may attempt to collect on the debt of a loved one who has recently passed away.

Generally, credit card debt does not go away when a person dies.  Family members, however, are most often not directly responsible for paying an outstanding balance that may exist.  Instead, the remaining debt is paid out of the decedent’s estate.  Depending on the amount of outstanding debt, it may be helpful to consider how credit card debt will be handled when creating an estate plan.To help people who are receiving calls from credit card companies that are attempting to collect on a debt of a person that has recently passed away, there are laws designed to protect individuals from abusive or deceptive practices.  Once a credit card company is placed on notice that a person is appointed to administer an estate, debt collectors are only allowed to discuss the outstanding debt with that person or certain close family members such as a child, spouse or parent of the deceased.  Under no circumstances, however, are debt collectors allowed to use deceptive or unfair practices to collect the debt.

If you have recently lost a loved one, please feel free to call us and we can discuss with you the probate process. To learn more about, and the differences between, what constitutes abusive or deceptive practices as it relates to debt collection, please contact The Carroll Law Firm as soon as possible at 623-551-9366 or visit us at


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