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Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55613
Experience:  29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
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My husband passed away on 8-7-2015, he had 2 credit cards in

Customer Question

My husband passed away on 8-7-2015, he had 2 credit cards in his name. I have continued to pay the monthly payments on these cards. I also had a card with my name as part of his account. I continued to use the card with my name on it.
I need to find out how to handle the debt of these credit cards. Can you tell me what to do? Thank you. Carole Alvord, TX
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

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!

Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which fully addresses your question. If you have any follow up questions, please ask! If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service as OK, Good or Excellent (hopefully Good or Excellent). Otherwise, I receive no credit for assisting you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You really did not answer my questions specifically enough. I tried to print you answer but it was all garbled, not printable.
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for following up. If you can help me understand specifically what I failed to answer, I'll be happy to follow up. Also, if you will provide me an email address, when we're through, I will email the entire thread to you.