Q: Is it true that credit card debt doesn’t have to be paid if your loved one was the sole owner and doesn’t have assets?
My dad passed suddenly. He had life insurance and several pensions for my mother. He had no will. His car was surrendered and the remaining wiped. His student loans forgiven. I took care of all of this. He has simple credit card debt. The house is a survivorship deed and we have a small town attorney working on the affidavit for that.- my mom plans to sell.He has no known stocks and bonds. I (daughter) contacted the credit companies after his passing to let them know to close the card so no one could misuse them. The attorney who is drafting the affidavit said none of this qualifies for probate or an estate in terms of assets and we can 1) call ourselves to credit cards and tell them there are no assets or 2) just ignore them. My concern is that we cannot ignore bc they will keep retraumatizing us with phone calls and mail. Does all of this sound correct? We do not want to get in any legal trouble and if I call will they take me seriously? I just want this all resolved so I can breathe
A: Your attorney is correct. Unsecured creditors can only collect from your father's probate assets. If there are no probate assets the unsecured creditors are out of luck.
Mary Ellen Leslie Esq. agrees with this answer
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A: If your concern is the credit card companies continue to call you then you need to do two things. 1) Tell them to stop calling you (and note the date) and 2) if they call you again contact a consumer attorney. If they contact you to collect a debt after you've told them to stop calling you they may be in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA"), or Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act ("OCSPA"). These violations have mandatory statutory penalties plus attorney fees so a consumer attorney will likely take this contingency.
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