While you may think you would never pay a bill you don’t owe, think again. Debt collectors are threatening and don’t care about your circumstances, so imagine how you would react if one called you demanding payment right after your loved one died. Would you pay it to get them to leave you alone? You might say no now, but given the circumstances your answer might be different.
I will never forget the calls I got after my sister died. One company came after me just because we both had the same cell phone carrier. This company treated me so poorly time and time again all over a bill that was less than $100. It didn’t matter if I faxed over ten death certificates, this business wanted its money. Yet, her student loans that were worth thousands were erased without a fight.
If you don’t know your rights, it’s easy to fall victim to these unrelenting companies at a time when your world feels like it’s in shambles. The debt collectors and/or company itself will try to make you believe that you owe the debt. However, the Federal Trade Commission says you don’t owe the debt unless you co-signed for the financial obligation, living in a community property state like California, you are the deceased person’s spouse and state law requires you pay the debt like health care expenses, or you were responsible to resolve the estate and you didn’t follow state probate laws.
The debts should be paid from the individual’s estate. If there’s not enough money to pay everything off, the debts are left unpaid. In most cases, the survivor doesn’t have to pay the difference even though some companies would like you to think you owe it.
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Stopping debt collectors