Winchester, VA asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Virginia

Q: My aunt's husband passed away and there was unpaid credit card debt. Does she owe this if it is not in her name?

What do we do if it's not in her name and only her deceased husbands name? There is one credit card that she is a joint user for. We have gotten death certificates so far but nothing else.

1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Potomac, MD
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: The wife is not liable for credit card debt she did not contract to pay by being on the card or using the card. She may be liable if the charges were for something the law calls necessaries, like medical care, food, clothing, and other needs of her spouse, but that is liability for the necessary items, not the card where they were charged. But, tge husband’s estate is liable, so if she inherited anything from the husband, the administrator could recapture those assets sometimes to cover tge debts. That prospect becomes complex and, if planned in advance, can sometimes be avoided. You need to review the specific details in private with your lawyer.

Nina Whitehurst agrees with this answer

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