Estate Law

Estate law questions? Ask an estate lawyer.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

My husband passed and he had a credit card only in his name.

Customer Question
My husband passed and...

My husband passed and he had a credit card only in his name. I never charged on the card nor did I have anything to do with obtaining the card. Am I responsible for that debt? I liv in California

Lawyer's Assistant: What state is this in? And when did the issue begin?

As stated, I live in California. I have received two bills from this creditor and I sent them the death certificate back in October just after my husband died.

Lawyer's Assistant: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?

The credit card and application are in his name only.

Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Estate Law
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Answered in 2 minutes by:
12/28/2017
Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 3 months ago
Attorney2
Attorney2, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 8,337
Experience: 30 Years in General Practice and Estate Planning
Verified

Welcome and thank you for your question. My condolences for your loss.

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 3 months ago

California is a community property State. As far as credit card debt is concerned as long as you never signed for the card the debt belongs to your husband and his estate.

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 3 months ago

"Certain states (called community property states) follow community property rules instead of the common law when determining which spouse is liable for a particular debt. In community property states, you are still on the hook for any debts in your name or that you cosign for.

But in addition, debts incurred by you or your spouse during your marriage (regardless of whose name is ***** *****) are generally deemed to be community debts and both spouses are considered equally liable. This means that even if the credit card debt was incurred by your spouse alone, you may be on the hook for it. However, keep in mind that debts incurred by your spouse prior to marriage or after separation or divorce are not community debts.

Also, each state weighs different factors and may have additional rules regarding when an obligation is considered a community debt. Usually, if the debt was incurred for something that benefited your marriage, it will likely be deemed a community debt. But if it was a purchase that only benefited your spouse, there is a greater likelihood that it will not be considered a community debt.

Currently, the following states follow community property rules: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. In Alaska, married couples can agree to treat their property as community property." https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/am-i-liable-my-spouses-credit-card-debt.html

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 3 months ago

Can you tell me if used the credit card to pay for items that benefited the marriage? If not you have no responsibility for the debt.

Where in CA are you located?

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I am confused. You said "California is a community property State. As far as credit card debt is concerned as long as you never signed for the card the debt belongs to your husband and his estate."
Then you said "But in addition, debts incurred by you or your spouse during your marriage (regardless of whose name is ***** *****) are generally deemed to be community debts and both spouses are considered equally liable."
Which is it?
Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 3 months ago

Let me rephrase the response because California is complicated. If the credit card was used to purchase things that benefited the marital community and not just your husband the debt would be paid for out of community property.

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 3 months ago

"...debts incurred by you or your spouse during your marriage (regardless of whose name is ***** *****) are generally deemed to be community debts and both spouses are considered equally liable. This means that even if the credit card debt was incurred by your spouse alone, you may be on the hook for it. However, keep in mind that debts incurred by your spouse prior to marriage or after separation or divorce are not community debts.

Also, each state weighs different factors and may have additional rules regarding when an obligation is considered a community debt. Usually, if the debt was incurred for something that benefited your marriage, it will likely be deemed a community debt. But if it was a purchase that only benefited your spouse, there is a greater likelihood that it will not be considered a community debt." https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/am-i-liable-my-spouses-credit-card-debt.html

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 3 months ago

What type of things did your husband purchase with the card?

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I do not know what the charges were for because I never found any statements. We were separated but not legally. He had a different address and lived in Orange County Ca. I live in Riverside County.
Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 3 months ago

"The answer to whether you are liable for your husband's credit card debt depends, in part, on what the credit cards were used to purchase - if they were used to purchase items that benefitted the "community", then you can be held responsible for them." https://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/in-california--if-my-husband-dies-with-credit-card-307300.html

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 3 months ago

Thank you for the clarification. If you were not living together it is doubtful that his purchases benefited the marital community.

Let me provide a link for local Attorneys that can assist you in disputing your liability since the credit card company will lead you to believe that you are responsible.

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Ok. Thank you
Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 3 months ago

I realize the law in California is very confusing. The bot***** *****ne is that you are not personally liable as you did not sign for the card. The issue becomes whether you benefited from the purchases as part of the marriage. Since you were not together would be his debt. http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/firm/consumer-protection/riverside-county/california

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 3 months ago

Free consultation Attorneys http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/firm/consumer-protection/riverside-county/california

You are most welcome.

Please do not hesitate to ask me any additional questions that you may have with regard to this matter. It would be my pleasure to continue to assist you.

If you would be kind enough to rate my service positively so I will receive credit for my work from the site I would appreciate it. A positive rating will not impact your ability to obtain a refund.

You may not be familiar with how the site works. The Attorneys to not receive credit from the site for their time or with customers unless the customer provides a positive rating. We answer your questions in good faith, hoping for a good faith response regardless of whether the law is in your favor or not. If you were unhappy with my service please let me know that you would prefer to work with another Attorney and I will opt out.

Can you see the rating scale on your end, 5 stars?

Thank you for your consideration.

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 3 months ago

Are you still online with me?

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Was this answer helpful?
Ask Attorney2 Your Own Question
Attorney2
Attorney2
Attorney2, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 8,337
8,337 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 30 Years in General Practice and Estate Planning

Attorney2 is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

My husband has been driving me insane with questions regarding estate issues since his mother died. I'm not a lawyer! Thanks to JustAnswer, I was able to calm his concerns.

Loretta TIllinois

Thanks Adam!! - A very direct and understandable response - you have been a great help!

Happy CustomerEllicott City, MD

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Thomas McJD

Thomas McJD

Attorney

3,170 satisfied customers

Wills, Trusts, Probate & other Estate Matters

Barrister

Barrister

Attorney

5,488 satisfied customers

17 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate

RayAnswers

RayAnswers

Attorney

5,126 satisfied customers

Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law

Infolawyer

Infolawyer

Attorney

5,032 satisfied customers

Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses.

Ely

Ely

Counselor at Law

1,841 satisfied customers

Fully licensed attorney in Texas in private practice.

RobertJDFL

RobertJDFL

Attorney

1,454 satisfied customers

Experienced in multiple areas of the law.

ScottyMacEsq

ScottyMacEsq

Attorney

1,167 satisfied customers

Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney

< Previous | Next >

Related Estate Law Questions
If a person is the beneficiary of an estate and receives an
If a person is the beneficiary of an estate and receives an inheritance from the estate is the distribution taxable… read more
Expert James
Expert James
Doctoral Degree
11,989 satisfied customers
This is a matter of a life estate. There are disagreements
This is a matter of a life estate. There are disagreements over the following: Beneficiaries listed above (in attachment) think they are entitled to a portion of the property My understanding is that … read more
Attorney2
Attorney2
Attorney
8,337 satisfied customers
My husband is on a will for an estate that has issues and
my husband is on a will for an estate that has issues and does not want anything to do with the estate, can he just sign it away? … read more
lucy7368
lucy7368
Juris Doctor
763 satisfied customers
If the trustee of an estate wants to purchase the home that
If the trustee of an estate wants to purchase the home that is part of the estate do you typically lower the selling price by 7% to allow for the relator fees that you will save by not listing the hom… read more
LawGuy
LawGuy
Juris Doctor
123 satisfied customers
If a conservator is appointed over the Estate by a Judge,
If a conservator is appointed over the Estate by a Judge, What rights does the successor trustee have? … read more
Barrister
Barrister
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
5,488 satisfied customers
In settling the estate in Wisconsin the Will states the
In settling the estate in Wisconsin the Will states the house is dequested to the first party and the remainder goes to the executor. The value in the estate lies primary in the house (65% of the mort… read more
Infolawyer
Infolawyer
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
5,032 satisfied customers
Can I use a small estate affidavit if the estate worth
Can I use a small estate affidavit if the estate worth including mobile home and lot is less than 50k ? … read more
LawGuy
LawGuy
Juris Doctor
123 satisfied customers
What is the role of the Administrator of an Estate where
What is the role of the Administrator of an Estate where their is a sole beneficiary? … read more
LegalGems
LegalGems
Juris Doctorate
11,587 satisfied customers
If an individual estate is in probate and a property is sold
if an individual estate is in probate and a property is sold that he was an heir, how are the proceeds distributed?… read more
jb156200
jb156200
Associate Attorney
Doctoral Degree
811 satisfied customers
California Estate Taxes - how soon is the estate responsible
California Estate Taxes - how soon is the estate responsible for filing an estate as of death taxes?… read more
LegalGems
LegalGems
Juris Doctorate
11,587 satisfied customers
Regarding estate law: my brother's my mother's estate
Regarding estate law: my brother's my mother's estate executor, and as I recently found out a co-owner of her sole bank account (ugh). I'm otherwise a beneficiary on the account. My brother's giving m… read more
jb156200
jb156200
Associate Attorney
Doctoral Degree
811 satisfied customers
Estate Cases. Need a Lawyer who is current on. +Estate in
The deadline is near ,need help.It's about our Mother and her death ,propertys… read more
Attorney2
Attorney2
Attorney
8,337 satisfied customers
Estate is in probate in california. the estate has out of
estate is in probate in california. the estate has out of state assets.1.) colorado home - just sold without going through referee valuation Sold for $260,000 on 1/24/2018 2.) nevada corp operating in… read more
socrateaser
socrateaser
1,031 satisfied customers
As the beneficiary of an estate, the attorney of the
Second opinion] As the beneficiary of an estate, the attorney of the Independent Executor asked me to sign a "Waver of Notice Pursuant to Texas Estates Code Sec. 308.002", waving my right to receive n… read more
Barrister
Barrister
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
5,488 satisfied customers
I am an executrix of an estate. We are selling Real Estate.
I am an executrix of an estate. We are selling Real Estate. I was notified that in order to get Title Insurance the insurance company needs me to fill our a questionnaire. They are asking if Fed/State… read more
Barrister
Barrister
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
5,488 satisfied customers
I am a beneficiary of real estate property in an estate by a
Hello, I am a beneficiary of real estate property in an estate by a man that is now incapacitated. His power of attorney is the only other beneficiary for the estate. He will receive everything except… read more
Barrister
Barrister
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
5,488 satisfied customers
The executrix of my aunt's estate sold the real estate and
The executrix of my aunt's estate sold the real estate and didn't inform the beneficiarys or make any payments as the will instructed. … read more
LegalGems
LegalGems
Juris Doctorate
11,587 satisfied customers
Estate question. I am an Executor of an Estate. The person
Estate question. I am an Executor of an Estate. The person who's Estate I am administering was in the middle of administering her husband's estate with the assistance of her lawyer, when the Executor … read more
TaxAttorneytoHelp
TaxAttorneytoHelp
Owner
Doctoral Degree
2,542 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x