My Mom Died and Left Me Her Bill

Huffington Post Reader Question

Dear Steve,

My mom recently passed away and she has a credit card in her name on which I was an authorized user. My Dad who is still living was not on the account and did not know she had the card. I have been paying the bill for the last few months as my Mom was ill before her passing and unable to take care of things and did not want my Dad to know about the card. Debt is approximately $11,000.00.

Will my dad be stuck with this debt? Should I just continue to pay the bill?


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Dear Jackie,

I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. Those are never easy times.

In general the debt ends with the passing of the account holder in most situations. The way to deal with this debt is explained in my article Widow or Widower: How to Handle the Bills After the Death of a Loved One.

When someone you care for and love dies, it’s the worst time to figure out how to handle odd debts that surface. And they often do. It’s not all that uncommon in my world for people to tell me about surprise credit card accounts a wife, husband, mother, or father hand.

They key issue is to make sure you do not use the account after the passing of the account holder. As an authorized account holder you are not responsible for the debt. But I have seen credit card companies try to make the argument that the continued use of the account by an authorized user changes the nature of the liability. That’s a great discussion for a lawyer. I am not a lawyer.

It is possible this debt can just be quickly dealt with using some official copies of her death certificate and some stamps. If not, make sure nobody is using the card and contact a lawyer who is licensed in your state and get a legal opinion.

Before I go I wanted to leave you with three easy action items you jump on right now to address your situation. Just click here.

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