Attorneys Stephen Korshak and Lee Karina Dani

Prepare for collection calls when a loved one dies

by | Nov 26, 2018 | Collections |


It is an unfortunate reality that many people these days end up dying with debt. One report published by TIME Magazine found that approximately 73 percent of Americans die with some amount of debt. The average debt a person dies with is over $61,000, which typically comes from someone’s mortgage debt. However, it can also come from student loans, auto loans and credit card debt. 

It is a difficult time when a loved one passes away. There will be a lot on your mind, and the last thing you want to deal with is creditors calling you asking about the deceased’s debt. While it can be angering to receive these calls, it is important to be ready. You certainly have rights when creditors call, and you should not pay any money you do not have to. 

What you need to determine

Before doing anything, you need to determine if the debt is valid. You then need to find out if the debt falls within the statute of limitations for creditors to call and try to collect. Finally, you need to figure out whether it is your responsibility as the deceased’s beneficiary to pay back the debt. Some agencies will state you have a “moral obligation” to pay back the debt, but you should not pay back anything if the state does not legally require you to do so. 

How you should proceed

After you have verified the debts, you may then need to pay back the money, but only through the deceased’s estate. You do not have to pay the debt out of your own pocket.

However, if you are a co-signer on an account, such as the deceased’s credit card, then you may have more of a responsibility to repay in some other manner. Ultimately, if you do not want creditors calling you, then send a request in writing. Legally, they will have to stop pestering you at this point.