How to handle an estate's credit card debts

In certain situations, Georgia residents may inherit a deceased friend or relative's credit card debt. This may be true if an individual was named as a cardholder along with the deceased individual. It may also be considered marital property assuming that the debt was accrued during the marriage and both parties signed for it. However, it is still possible that an individual would not be responsible for paying any balance owed.

In the event that the decedent was solely liable for the debt, creditors would need to file a claim with that person's estate. However, the executor of an estate may deny a claim if there is no money to pay it. The executor would also have to verify that the debt is valid, and anyone contacted by a creditor about a debt does have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

This may mean making a written request to a creditor to cease contact, which a creditor is obligated to do under the terms of the FDCPA. If more contact occurs, it may be possible to file a compliant with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In all cases, the executor of an estate should send death certificates to the major credit bureaus to reduce the odds that fraud is committed in the decedent's name.

In many cases, an estate goes through probate after a person dies. This process may work to verify that a deceased person had a valid will and to confirm that the executor may start the process of settling the estate. A probate court may also hear challenges from creditors seeking to collect on debt balances owed or hear from heirs who believe that they may be entitled to an inheritance. Estate executors may wish to work with an attorney to handle any issues that may arise.

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