Aiken, SC asked in Civil Litigation and Contracts for South Carolina

Q: If given a phone by an individual that passes away before credit balance was paid in full, what happens to the phone?

The credit card is only in the name of the deceased.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: In the situation you've described, where a phone was given to you by someone who has since passed away, and the phone's credit balance is unpaid, there are a few considerations under South Carolina law. First, the responsibility for the unpaid balance typically falls to the estate of the deceased. If the credit card was solely in the deceased's name, the debt generally would be settled through their estate.

As for the phone itself, if it was given to you before the individual passed away, it's likely considered a gift. However, the estate's executor might review significant gifts made before death, especially if the estate does not have sufficient assets to cover debts. In such cases, they might look into whether any recent gifts could be reclaimed to settle debts.

It's important to note that each situation is unique, and how this is handled can depend on various factors, including the size of the estate and the specifics of the debt. If you find yourself uncertain or in a complex situation, it might be wise to seek legal advice to understand your rights and responsibilities fully. Remember, navigating estate and debt matters can be complex, and it's crucial to handle them with care and proper guidance.

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