If a debt collector has contacted you about a deceased family member’s debt, it is important to know your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA). In most cases, surviving family members are not responsible for a deceased family member’s debts.
Our Cincinnati family debt collection lawyers are well-versed in your rights under the FDCPA and can review your situation to help determine if you are responsible for the debt. Our bankruptcy attorneys can also help you put a stop to calls or other communication from debt collectors. Schedule a free legal consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.
Who Is Responsible For A Deceased Family Member’s Debts?
In most cases, the FDCPA requires a deceased person’s debts to be paid by their estate. If the estate does not have the funds to cover the debts, they usually go unpaid.
This means spouses, children and other relatives are rarely held responsible for a deceased person’s debts, except in the following situations:
- They had a joint obligation on a debt, like a credit card account.
- They provided food, shelter or other “necessaries” to the person before he or she died.
- They are the executor of the estate and failed to comply with Ohio probate laws.
Our Cincinnati family debt collection attorneys can advise you as to whether or not your situation fits one of those, or another exception.
Dealing With Debt Collectors
The last thing you want to deal with after the loss of a loved one is calls from debt collectors, especially if you have no legal obligation to pay the debt.
Unfortunately, the fact that you are not obligated to pay may not stop creditor harassment or abuse. They may even try to deceive you into thinking you are required to pay your loved one’s debts.
Fortunately, the FDCPA prohibits this type of conduct by debt collectors. There are also steps you can take to fight debt collection and communication from collectors, which a lawyer could advise you on.
If you are contacted, provide the debt collector with the contact information of the person responsible for settling the deceased person’s estate.
If there is a will, it will name an executor who is responsible for settling the deceased person’s affairs. If the deceased person did not have a will, an administrator will be responsible for settling the affairs of an estate.
Do not provide any personal information unless you can verify the person you are speaking to is a debt collector. People often pose as debt collectors and contact relatives of deceased people asking for personal information so they can commit identity theft.
Preventing More Debt Collector Calls
If you do not want to receive any more calls from the debt collector, write a letter making this request. Make a copy for your records and send the original via certified mail with a return receipt so you will know when the collector receives it.
After receiving the letter, the collector is prohibited from calling you again, except to tell you he or she will not be contacting you again. The debt collector can also call to inform you of a lawsuit against your dead relative’s estate or the person responsible for the debt.
You can get help writing a letter to the debt collector from our Cincinnati credit collection attorneys. We can also advise you on filing a formal complaint against debt collectors with the Federal Trade Commission or the Ohio Attorney General.
Why You Need A Cincinnati Family Debt Collection Attorney
It can be intimidating dealing with aggressive, harassing debt collectors who insist you have to pay a deceased loved one’s debts.
No one should have to bear this burden alone, and that is why you need to contact our Cincinnati family debt collection lawyers. You need someone who will advocate for your best interests and fight to protect your rights.
We can help you find out if you are legally responsible for your deceased loved one’s debt. We can also assist you in putting a stop to calls and other correspondence from debt collectors.
Schedule a free, no obligation consultation today so we can review your options and explain your rights under the FDCPA.