In most cases, if a credit card belongs to one person, the same individual would be responsible for debt incurred on the card. When your deceased spouse has credit card debt , there are different factors that help determine who is responsible for paying the debt upon death.
When a spouse passes away, it will need to be determined what money the estate has available to pay toward outstanding debt. There are funds that credit card companies often don’t have access to such as life insurance, retirement accounts or other accounts that are payable upon death. The executor or administrator of the estate would be responsible for making sure bills are paid. Monies left over would be distributed according to the will, if one is present. State laws provide additional details that should be followed if a will is not present.
On the other hand, the credit card company won’t get anything if the estate doesn’t have enough money, but this could change. If the credit card account was jointly owned by you and your deceased spouse; meaning you both were obligated to pay debt incurred on the account, the credit card company can choose to pursue the surviving spouse for payment. If you live in a community property state such as Texas, California or Louisiana, you may also be responsible for the debt. Community property includes assets and debts accumulated during marriage.
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Getting credit card debt discharged in bankruptcy is an option to consider. It can help ease the burden of the estate dealing with outstanding debt after death. Questions and concerns should be reviewed with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.