Hi Carole. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you.
First, let me tell you how sorry I am for the loss of your husband. I know this must be a difficult time for you. I will certainly keep you in my prayers.
With regard to your specific question....Texas is a community property state. Whether or not a surviving spouse has liability for her spouse's debt in a community property is not a black and white matter. In community property states, even though only one spouse signed the credit card contract, it is possible that the non-signing spouse may have incurred liability without signing the credit card application. The determining factor when such a debt is incurred during your marriage is this: "Was the credit card used for the benefit of both members of the marriage?" If yes, then liability may accrue to the non-signing spouse in community property states; if no, then the non-signing spouse has no liability. Since you had no knowledge of this debt and she used it for running her business, it's not likely that a court in reviewing the facts would hold that you benefited from this debt. Since you had a card in your name and used the card both before and after your husband's death, it's likely a court would determine that you did benefit from the card. I will say that as a practical matter, even in community property states, most creditors in this situation do not go to the trouble of suing both spouses. It may be, however, that since you've continued to use the card after his death, that the creditor would pursue payment at least for the post-death charges since these were clearly for your benefit; but it's likely that you could settle the pre-death charges for less than what was owed.
This is the part of my job I don't like...when the law is not in favor of my customer. But, I can only provide you information based on the law so that you can act on the best available information to you. ………..I wish I had better news, but can only hope you recognize and understand my predicament and don't shoot the messenger. I'm sorry!
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