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Richard
Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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I live in Texas, and just recently lost my husband of 37

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Good Morning
I live in Texas, and just recently lost my husband of 37 years. He died without a will. We owned a house jointly. There is no equity in the home, and he left no assets. He did leave a c.f. very small ($50.000) life insurance policy which will pay for his car and funeral expenses. I found after his death that he had taken out credit cards in his name only. The credit card companies now demand their money. I would gladly pay them if I could, but do not have the money to do so. I might mention that both my husband and I both had just gotten laid off from our jobs a couple of months before his passing. I now live off of unemployment, as my SS has not started yet. Am I responsible for his credit card debt? I am unsure how to handle this.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Richard replied 2 months ago.

Good morning Sandra. My name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today! It will take me just a few minutes to type a response to your question. Thanks for your patience!

Expert:  Richard replied 2 months ago.

First, let me tell you how sorry I am for the loss of your husband. I'm sure this is a very difficult time for you and I will certainly keep you in my prayers.

With regard to your specific question, the bot***** *****ne is that you will not be liable for these debts of your husband. Although it's not always a black and white matter in a community property state such as Texas, given your facts, these credit card companies would not be able to successfully pursue a claim against you. 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, a court in reviewing the facts is simply not going to rule that you benefited from this debt. Even if you had benefited, as a practical matter, even in community property states, most creditors in this situation do not go to the trouble of suing both spouses, and if your husband left no estate, then you can simply write the creditors informing them of your wife's death (include a death certificate), that he had no estate assets to pay the debt, and that thus the creditor will need to write the debt off as a bad debt. That is typically the end of this for you.

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