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Husband, now deceased, opened cards in my name

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AndieTX
New Visitor

Husband, now deceased, opened cards in my name

I need advice with how to handle a Citicard charge off of about $9,000. This is one of 3 accounts that I discovered after my husband passed away in 2019 that he opened in my name only and without my knowledge. I had never seen the physical cards, statements, or any emails - and I did not have knowledge of or access to most of our financial information. The other two accounts have disappeared off of my CRs. The Citi account reports as late every month and shows as closed & charged off with the full balance. To my knowledge it has not gone to collections. I have not received any letters or voicemails to that effect. The last payment was Nov 2019 just prior to my husband's death. My probate attorney advised me at the time not to pay it or have any communication with the creditor. Not sure if that was wise. SOL in Texas is 4 years. I have the money to pay it, but it would be a big dent in my limited savings. I am hoping to buy a house in the next year. My Experian FICO is currently 638. I have opened several trade lines on my own in the last 3-4 years....no late payments and my utilization is 3%. I would appreciate advice on the best route to avoid future problems from this account and hopefully improve my scores. Sorry for the long explanation. I have had a huge financial learning curve since becoming widowed (fairly young), but I'm at a loss as to how to proceed.

Message 1 of 16
15 REPLIES 15
RSX
Valued Contributor

Re: Husband, now deceased, opened cards in my name

very sorry to hear this

 

since you mention that you will be looking for a house soon, you will need to take care of this before the mortgage process

 

i think your best move is to contact them and see if they will settle for 50% of the outstanding amount - if they say Yes, i would pay it and move on

i know you didnt open this card, but it is in your name, and you will be suffering with it until it is dealt with

 

 

Dec 16/2019. EX. 721. EQ. 723. TU 746
Jan 25/2024 EX. 774 EQ. 751 TU 758
Inq. EX 2 EQ 3 TU 6 - - CC 2x24, 0x12
Amex BCP $35k - Apple GS $21k - BMW/Elan $19k - Cap1 QS $16.7k - Chase Amazon $13.6k - Chase Bonvoy Bountiful $10k - Chase United Club Infinite $26k - Citi CustomCash $3k - Citi DC $14.5k - CreditUnion1 $9k - DiscoverIT $31.5k - PayBoo - $15.6k - Penfed Gold - $19.3k - USB AltitudeGO -$19k- USBank Cash+ -$25k - PenFed LOC - $20k - USB LOC - $15k
Message 2 of 16
SouthJamaica
Mega Contributor

Re: Husband, now deceased, opened cards in my name


@AndieTX wrote:

I need advice with how to handle a Citicard charge off of about $9,000. This is one of 3 accounts that I discovered after my husband passed away in 2019 that he opened in my name only and without my knowledge. I had never seen the physical cards, statements, or any emails - and I did not have knowledge of or access to most of our financial information. The other two accounts have disappeared off of my CRs. The Citi account reports as late every month and shows as closed & charged off with the full balance. To my knowledge it has not gone to collections. I have not received any letters or voicemails to that effect. The last payment was Nov 2019 just prior to my husband's death. My probate attorney advised me at the time not to pay it or have any communication with the creditor. Not sure if that was wise. SOL in Texas is 4 years. I have the money to pay it, but it would be a big dent in my limited savings. I am hoping to buy a house in the next year. My Experian FICO is currently 638. I have opened several trade lines on my own in the last 3-4 years....no late payments and my utilization is 3%. I would appreciate advice on the best route to avoid future problems from this account and hopefully improve my scores. Sorry for the long explanation. I have had a huge financial learning curve since becoming widowed (fairly young), but I'm at a loss as to how to proceed.


I'm sorry to say that there are really no ways to avoid having problems with this account other than to somehow get it removed. I would try to work it out with Citibank somehow.  If you can reach some kind of amicable resolution, make sure it involves removal of the account from your credit reports.


Total revolving limits 650200 (530700 reporting) FICO 8: EQ 708 TU 714 EX 715

Message 3 of 16
GZG
Valued Contributor

Re: Husband, now deceased, opened cards in my name

I'm confused why your attorney wouldn't have you file an identity theft claim in order to get that removed, I would consider speaking to an attorney about what you could possibly do about doing so

 

Him being deceased and being your former husband probably? this far more complicated and definitely worth a sitdown with an attorney to see what the options might be

 

certainly, if you pay it or acknowledge it to be yours, those options likely get much less viable

Starting FICO 8:
Current FICO 8:


2/6, 3/12, 11/24
Message 4 of 16
805orbust
Valued Contributor

Re: Husband, now deceased, opened cards in my name

From a 30,000ft view @AndieTX , you will definitely get a boost on all fronts by taking care of this. I agree with all of the above advice.  However if the debt is still held by Citi and not a collection agency,  you've got some negotiating flexibility.  Fico likes when accounts are paid/settled so yes, trying to settle for 50% is sound, but you may be able to get a removal from the credit bureaus as well.  I would push for this, even if it meant paying out a little more.  

 

You will most likely be able to replenish your savings, however even if not, the score boost of having it removed could change your underwriting landscape when the time comes. You could even get favorable terms with an FHA loan and reduce your down-payment amount.  Unfortunate situation but it seems you've got nothing but light at the end of the tunnel.



Message 5 of 16
GApeachy
Super Contributor

Re: Husband, now deceased, opened cards in my name


@AndieTX wrote:

 My probate attorney advised me at the time not to pay it or have any communication with the creditor. Not sure if that was wise.  


I'd give this attorney a call.  After explaining your current and future needs ask if there are any ramifications in contacting the creditor.  I guess the attorney was protecting your probate $ short term but now this.........weigh the Pro's & Con's.

 

Also, those other two derogs may pop back up on your cr's once they see you're going through mortgage financing/process.  I believe that's been reported here with some MF peeps. 

 

Have you checked your cr's that list soft inquiries like annualcreditreport?  You may be able to determine if the other creditors are watching you.

My Take Home Pay Don't Take Me Home
Message 6 of 16
longtimelurker
Epic Contributor

Re: Husband, now deceased, opened cards in my name

Maybe it varies from state to state butwe had a somewhat similar situation: dead brother in law opening accounts in the name of the mother-in-law with dementia, and running up large unpaid debt.    It took some medical records to show that the m-i-l lacked the ability to open the accounts at the time they were opened, but I had heard if she had been capable, sworn affadavits would have been the approach, going before a court.   It was a difficult time because she needed to be on medicaid and the rapid spending of her assets (by the late brother-in-law) looked like an avoidance ploy!

 

I would at least check this path out (with a different lawyer) before offering to pay 50%.   You didn't open the card, or make the charges,  so you shouldn't have to pay!

Message 7 of 16
butterpecan
Frequent Contributor

Re: Husband, now deceased, opened cards in my name

@RSX If they take a settlement offer let's say for 50% of the $9k the OP is referring to and they pay that agreement in full what do they report on your credit when it is satisfied? How does it clean up your file in general, does it wipe out that UTI or does it leave the other 50% balance for those creditors that refuse to do a PFD?

 




Message 8 of 16
MeredithLepore
New Contributor

Re: Husband, now deceased, opened cards in my name

I'm sorry you're in this situation. It's up to you whether you want to try to settle the debt by contacting Citi or fight this (which could also be timely and costly), but I'd double check with your lawyer on the reasoning for not contacting the creditor in the first place. Best of luck!

Message 9 of 16
RSX
Valued Contributor

Re: Husband, now deceased, opened cards in my name

@butterpecan 

 

an agreement for the full amount - or any percentage based agreement will zero out the account entirely

they may delete it - but either way it is Zero

 

their util will definitely drop, which will help their score

 

and then this acct will drop from their records after 7-10 years

 

other than getting it deleted entirely (best option), zero balance is the second best option

 

i am tending to think that any lawyer fees will greatly outweigh the cost of just dealing with it and getting it cleared up for good

that is just my opinion  - and what i would do

Dec 16/2019. EX. 721. EQ. 723. TU 746
Jan 25/2024 EX. 774 EQ. 751 TU 758
Inq. EX 2 EQ 3 TU 6 - - CC 2x24, 0x12
Amex BCP $35k - Apple GS $21k - BMW/Elan $19k - Cap1 QS $16.7k - Chase Amazon $13.6k - Chase Bonvoy Bountiful $10k - Chase United Club Infinite $26k - Citi CustomCash $3k - Citi DC $14.5k - CreditUnion1 $9k - DiscoverIT $31.5k - PayBoo - $15.6k - Penfed Gold - $19.3k - USB AltitudeGO -$19k- USBank Cash+ -$25k - PenFed LOC - $20k - USB LOC - $15k
Message 10 of 16
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