09-11-2012 11:47 AM
I am hoping that some of you can provide any help. My Dad passed away last week, but did not leave a will. My brothers and I are trying to help my Mom sort out the financials - pensions, loans, credit cards, etc. My Dad had 3-4 credit cards that appear to be in only his name that still have balances on them (each is anywhere from $3000-5000). He also has a vehicle loan again only in his name with a current payoff of more than $17000 (Mom does not drive and has no use for the vehicle). Finally, he has a Capital One personal loan with about $19000 still due that was also in only his name (as far as we can tell). My Mom had no Idea most of these existed until she began paying the monthly bills after my Dad got sick. Does my Mom have any liability for any of these items? She will only receive a small survivor benefit from his pension and the life insurance was just enough to cover funeral expenses. She is on social security with a small (less than $300) pension of her own and obviously can't afford any of these payments now. I know we need to see a lawyer, but I am hoping that someone can provide some insight. Previous to seeing a lawyer, is there anything I can do to help? Thank you all in advance.
09-12-2012 12:35 PM
Do you live in a community property state?
If the answer is yes, she will be held liable for them.
If the answer is no, then she probably will not be held liable for them.
With regards to the vehicle - and this is ONLY a suggestion - call the finance company (is it Capital one) and say you can no longer keep the car/afford the car/driver deceased/driver moved to heaven and left no forwarding address, and ask them to come and get the car. Let them know that the insurance will be stopped on x date. Call the insurance company and stop the coverage.
I had a few tenacious bill collectors after a family member died. For some reason, they came after me for the money. I got to the point, when they would not get the message, that I returned all mail correspondence with a message on it --- "MOVED TO HEAVEN. NO FORWARDING ADDRESS"
That seems the most effective way to stop the harassment.
I am sorry your dad died. It is good of you and your siblings to help your mom out.
09-12-2012 12:37 PM
ps - if your mom is NOT liable for the bills, that does not mean that they will stop trying to collect from her. My suggestion is for her (and you kids) NOT to be doing any phone calls. Return all mail.
Make sure your mom has closed out that old account and opened up a new one in a new bank so that none of the companies can do an autodraft from the account and screw your mom's finances up.