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LegalGems
LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3513
Experience:  Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
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California location. My Momther passed away In January, she

Resolved Question:

California location. My Momther passed away In January, she has an American express acct. with an outstanding balance. In her name only. is my living father accountable for balance? He is on a fixed income.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 11 months ago.

LegalGems :

Hi; My goal is to provide you with great service - if you have any questions during our chat, please ask! I'll do my best to ensure your satisfaction! I am sorry to hear of your family's recent loss. One moment please as I review the remainder of your question.

LegalGems :

In California, the community property estate (any property acquired during marriage is generally community property) is liable for the debts of a deceased spouse. If there is no community property and only separate property, and the debt was not for "necessaries of life", then the surviving spouse would not be liable.

LegalGems :

If there is community property, often times, particularly with credit card debt, the lender will negotiate the amount of the debt from 40-70% of the principal amount, so that is a strategy often worth trying.

Customer:

Well, the debt was credit card purcheses and my fathe ris on a fixed income. American express said he may not have to pay since it was in my mothers name only. Not sure about California.

LegalGems :

From a contractual perspective, only the person signing the credit card agreement is liable. However, in California, since it is a community property state, the community can be liable for debts incurred by either spouse.

Customer:

Ok Thanks

LegalGems :

If you can wait a moment I can get you the statute.

LegalGems :

You are welcome!

Customer:

Sure!

LegalGems :

Here you go:

LegalGems :

13550. Except as provided in Sections 11446, 13552, 13553, and 13554, upon the death of a married person, the surviving spouse is personally liable for the debts of the deceased spouse chargeable against the property described in Section 13551 to the extent provided in Section 13551. 13551. The liability imposed by Section 13550 shall not exceed the fair market value at the date of the decedent's death, less the amount of any liens and encumbrances, of the total of the following: (a) The portion of the one-half of the community and quasi-community property belonging to the surviving spouse under Sections 100 and 101 that is not exempt from enforcement of a money judgment and is not administered in the estate of the deceased spouse. (b) The portion of the one-half of the community and quasi-community property belonging to the decedent under Sections 100 and 101 that passes to the surviving spouse without administration. (c) The separate property of the decedent that passes to the surviving spouse without administration.

LegalGems :

So it really depends on your dad's assets and whether they were community property. But even if they are, please emphasize to your dad that the debt should be negotiated down- at least attempted, if he is in fact resonsible.

Customer:

Is there away to print this Info. or is it not allowed

LegalGems :

It's allowed. When you close the chat you have an option to print. Otherwise you can copy and save it to a word doc and print from there. I'll get you a direct link to the statute so you can also print the statute out.

Customer:

Great! Thanks for the Info.

Customer:

My Q was Answered.

LegalGems :

Very welcome! Take care.

LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3513
Experience: Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
LegalGems and 14 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  LegalGems replied 11 months ago.
I hope you found the information I provided useful.
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Thanks, and take care!

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