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What Happens to Credit Card Debt When You Die?


Credit card debt is a pesky burden that impacts 55% of all Americans who have credit cards, and with interest, it can be challenging to pay off all your debt. So what happens when a cardholder passes away while they still have payments to make? Unfortunately, credit card debt doesn’t just disappear when someone dies.

Despite what some rumors say, family members don’t inherit their loved one’s credit card debt. In most states, the deceased person’s estate is what pays off their debt. An estate refers to everything the person owned at the time of their death, including cash, properties, and other assets. This can impact family members in that they may not be able to receive their inheritances if their estate has to pay off the credit card debt first.

If a person’s credit card debt is so high that their estate can’t cover it, the debt can’t be paid and will essentially disappear.

What to Know About Community Property States

Though generally family members aren’t burdened with the responsibility of paying credit card debts, there are some exceptions. If you are living in a “community property state,” all property and assets you’ve acquired after being married are shared between you and your spouse, including credit card debt. This means that the surviving spouse will most likely be required to take on the debt when their loved one dies.

The states with community property law are Louisiana, Arizona, California, Texas, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.

What Happens if a Creditor Calls Me?

It’s not uncommon for family members to face harassment from creditors through phone calls and visits after the card holder’s death. While creditor harassment is already frustrating and threatening, it can feel even more daunting when your family is trying to grieve together and cope with your loss.

If a creditor tries to call you to pay your loved one’s death, you don’t have to answer. Creditors have to file a claim with estate lawyers and the family doesn’t need to be involved at all. If you are being harassed by a creditor during this challenging time, you can hire an attorney who can hold them responsible for violations and put an end to the constant calls.

Helping Financially Burdened Americans

It’s well known that most Americans are anxious about their finances, and 21% cite credit card issues as the cause of their worries. Atlas Consumer Law is well-versed on debt relief law and is dedicated to helping as many people as possible overcome their financial struggles and move towards a more secure and healthy future. Whether you’re locked in a dispute with a creditor or are facing foreclosure, you can call our team and trust that we can put your best interests first in all that we do. Our attorneys want to see you regain control of your life and won’t leave your side until you’re confident and in a good place.

Call Atlas Consumer Law at (312) 313-1613, or contact us onlineif you have questions or legal concerns relating to your credit card debt. Our attorneys are dedicated to protecting your rights and can defend you from creditor harassment and more.