Settling up with Credit Cards for deceased.

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Aug 28, 2015
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New York
Hello,

Just an update because I hate it when folks don't come back and let you know how things have progressed.

I met with a lawyer and laid everything out. There were two life insurance policies that named me as the beneficiary which pass outside the estate. Also, because of how we held title to the house it also passed outside the estate. In the end his estate consisted of some clothes and what he had in the bank (about $400 after the funeral expenses).

The advice is to return any bills to sender and not worry about it. Of course, I'll still worry a bit until I'm sure it all goes away.

Mark
Perfect result. Do not let any of your father's creditors scare or guilt you into paying anything.
 
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Feb 9, 2016
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@Joe Farrell lol, you're posts always make me chuckle! (in a good way) I do not doubt for one second that bill collectors would say that to LW, I'd love to be a fly on that phone line if LW asks them for their info!

Good for you letter writer. I'm sure this quells some anxiety. Be well!
 
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Aug 29, 2015
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Hold stong, Mark.

The hardest thing to do is to say, "I'm sorry, but the deceased passed without assets." Luckily, a very nice lawyer gave me some free advice over the phone when a dear friend passed away a couple of years ago. I practiced saying those words when I called to cancel all her credit cards and close her accounts. When someone became argumentative, I let them know they could get in line behind the IRS as she had a rather large outstanding bill to Uncle Sam. That was a good way to make them shut up. :)

Good luck
 
Aug 31, 2015
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Don't turn around . . . .
If I could hit the litigation lottery I should probably quit ignoring their calls.

Seriously, I am so glad I came to this forum before I tried to negotiate anything on my own. The advice was invaluable.

Mark
@Mark Gregory why would they be calling you? you're not the estate representative. Answer the phone one time - tell them in no uncertain terms you are not debtor, you do not represent the debtor, and you are instructing them to stop calling you. Get the name of the person you speak with, the formal name of the company they work for, and inform them if they believe you are responsible to please take the next step and sue you. Or - stop bothering you.

If you don't answer the call - they don't know any of this - and will continue hassling you.

BTW - they'll ask you who is the estate representative and your best response is that you don't know for certain and cannot help them.
 
Jan 25, 2016
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@Joe Farrell lol, you're posts always make me chuckle! (in a good way) I do not doubt for one second that bill collectors would say that to LW, I'd love to be a fly on that phone line if LW asks them for their info!

Good for you letter writer. I'm sure this quells some anxiety. Be well!
@sas80 ... right ... i absolutely love reading Joe's responses to just about anything ... not only a font of very useful information but amusing at the same time ...

on a more somber note ... my condolences on the passing of your father.
 
Aug 31, 2015
1,325
2,445
113
Don't turn around . . . .
Hold stong, Mark.

The hardest thing to do is to say, "I'm sorry, but the deceased passed without assets." Luckily, a very nice lawyer gave me some free advice over the phone when a dear friend passed away a couple of years ago. I practiced saying those words when I called to cancel all her credit cards and close her accounts. When someone became argumentative, I let them know they could get in line behind the IRS as she had a rather large outstanding bill to Uncle Sam. That was a good way to make them shut up. :)

Good luck
I guess I'm a much harder person inside- I guess after listening to people lie through their teeth for 31 years I'm hardened to BS.

But when my mother passed we had set everything up so she had no assets except the $700 in her checking account.

It was arranged that I would pay for the funeral from assets passing outside of the estate. She had $700 in her account at death - and a bunch of beat up personal possessions and her clothing. She had a mink coat that was 30 years old and I think the minks that gave up their fur were in better condition - that estimate of value was $500. So I tossed that into the accounting. She had $1200. Her disposition of remains and expenses of final illness were $5500.

I prepared a little schedule for all of the creditors detailing the listing claims filed - and the assets and negative net worth of the estate and sent it out to everyone after being appointed administrator - I did not probate the will - there was no point to encur that expense.

All the creditors recieved notice of death - they had 120 days to file claims - only three of 21 separate creditors did.

Thereafter - I sent the those who filed a claim the final accounting showing negative net worth - and that they'd get zero. They all respected the process and that was it.

Then I started getting demands from various creditors and collections agencies who did not file a proper legal claim - they received a letter saying they were time-barred and had failed to perfect their claims and thus they were all denied.

One collection agency did not take the hint - and they got sued for a violation of the fair credit billing and collections act by the administrator who was being harassed [me].

I sued them and their principal - and recovered $2500. $500 for the statutory penalty and $2000 for attorneys fees. Which I paid myself. Their principal was not very happy getting sued because they ended up having to pay it when the collection agency refused.

So - there is a process. And if you consider the process in advance it usually works out.

But under only a very few circumstances can a creditor reach into the heirs assets. Those involve the unfortunate situations where people think they are lawyers - and gift Mom's house to themselves to 'avoid' probate. If they don't pay for it - it is a gift - and if done too close to death can be set aside. Just remember that 'too close to death' can be as long as 5 years in some states,and as short as 5 months in others.

So the next time you want to practice law, realize that you won't perform surgery on yourself either.

Think of all the problems we see with people trying to be their own travel agents - much less lawyers.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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Hummm I guess in our family we did things a bit differently. There was insurance that passed outside of the estate BUT we all knew our Great Aunt intended her final expenses and a couple small bills to be paid. She had less than $1000 to her name, never owned a home and owned nothing of value. We paid off her bills even though legally we had no obligation to do so.

We knew that had been her intent and how she lived her life. We then split the balance between the 2 other nieces not named because she forgot (yep we get forgetful) their married names.

Everyone handles family deaths differently!
 
Aug 31, 2015
1,325
2,445
113
Don't turn around . . . .
Hummm I guess in our family we did things a bit differently. There was insurance that passed outside of the estate BUT we all knew our Great Aunt intended her final expenses and a couple small bills to be paid. She had less than $1000 to her name, never owned a home and owned nothing of value. We paid off her bills even though legally we had no obligation to do so.

We knew that had been her intent and how she lived her life. We then split the balance between the 2 other nieces not named because she forgot (yep we get forgetful) their married names.

Everyone handles family deaths differently!
absolutely - but most folks want to know what you have to do - not what you can do. . . .

my choice was because I disagreed with most of my mothers financial choices in life - and given her personal history with credit - anyone loaning her money should have known better!
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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113
absolutely - but most folks want to know what you have to do - not what you can do. . . .

my choice was because I disagreed with most of my mothers financial choices in life - and given her personal history with credit - anyone loaning her money should have known better!
My dear Great Aunt was 94 when she left us. She was frugal and left some very small bills and her final expenses. No one legally needed to pay any of them.... but I knew her expectation and I'm sure she would have let us know of her displeasure! Miss her dearly!
 
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Aug 31, 2015
1,325
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Don't turn around . . . .
My dear Great Aunt was 94 when she left us. She was frugal and left some very small bills and her final expenses. No one legally needed to pay any of them.... but I knew her expectation and I'm sure she would have let us know of her displeasure! Miss her dearly!
exactly - you felt as she did about her bills - there is no criticism implied - everyone should do what they feel comfortable doing . . . within their means.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
When my dad died, his assets totalled $4K, so each sibling got $1K. Except for me. My little brother used my $1K to purchase a speedboat, and the 4-page letter he wrote me was so funny that we ended up feeling that this speedboat was a good idea. Four years later, my other brother sold half of the speedboat to a friend of his. The mind boggles at the fractional share situation of that speedboat. I'm not sure how the brothers took care of the paperwork, but I never saw it so I didn't have to worry. We did ski behind that boat for many summers.

This is how estates are handled in northern Minnesota.
 
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kenish

Sep 1, 2015
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KSNA
@Mark Gregory - Condolences on your father. It sounds like he planned his estate well, and that's making it straightforward for you and your family. Adding to Joe's advice, if a creditor contacts you or the executor, do NOT indicate or concede in any way that your father owes them money. By my understanding as a non-lawyer, that may help them perfect a claim against the estate. Another tip from personal experience, miscellaneous paperwork (getting certified copies of death certificates, mailing paperwork around, burial expenses, etc) add up quickly. You can use those expenses to draw down the estate....your meeting with the lawyer counts too!
 
May 17, 2016
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I guess I'm a much harder person inside- I guess after listening to people lie through their teeth for 31 years I'm hardened to BS.

But when my mother passed we had set everything up so she had no assets except the $700 in her checking account.

It was arranged that I would pay for the funeral from assets passing outside of the estate. She had $700 in her account at death - and a bunch of beat up personal possessions and her clothing. She had a mink coat that was 30 years old and I think the minks that gave up their fur were in better condition - that estimate of value was $500. So I tossed that into the accounting. She had $1200. Her disposition of remains and expenses of final illness were $5500.

I prepared a little schedule for all of the creditors detailing the listing claims filed - and the assets and negative net worth of the estate and sent it out to everyone after being appointed administrator - I did not probate the will - there was no point to encur that expense.

All the creditors recieved notice of death - they had 120 days to file claims - only three of 21 separate creditors did.

Thereafter - I sent the those who filed a claim the final accounting showing negative net worth - and that they'd get zero. They all respected the process and that was it.

Then I started getting demands from various creditors and collections agencies who did not file a proper legal claim - they received a letter saying they were time-barred and had failed to perfect their claims and thus they were all denied.

One collection agency did not take the hint - and they got sued for a violation of the fair credit billing and collections act by the administrator who was being harassed [me].

I sued them and their principal - and recovered $2500. $500 for the statutory penalty and $2000 for attorneys fees. Which I paid myself. Their principal was not very happy getting sued because they ended up having to pay it when the collection agency refused.

So - there is a process. And if you consider the process in advance it usually works out.

But under only a very few circumstances can a creditor reach into the heirs assets. Those involve the unfortunate situations where people think they are lawyers - and gift Mom's house to themselves to 'avoid' probate. If they don't pay for it - it is a gift - and if done too close to death can be set aside. Just remember that 'too close to death' can be as long as 5 years in some states,and as short as 5 months in others.

So the next time you want to practice law, realize that you won't perform surgery on yourself either.

Think of all the problems we see with people trying to be their own travel agents - much less lawyers.
I sure learn a lot from you, Joe!