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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: 1 month ago.Category: Estate Law
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12/28/2017
Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 1 month ago
Attorney2
Attorney2, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 7,897
Experience: 30 Years in General Practice and Estate Planning
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Welcome and thank you for your question. My condolences for your loss.

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Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 1 month 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.

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Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 1 month 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

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Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 1 month 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?

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Customer reply replied 1 month 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 1 month 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.

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Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 1 month 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

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Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 1 month ago

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

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Customer reply replied 1 month 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 1 month 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

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Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 1 month 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.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Ok. Thank you
Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 1 month 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

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Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 1 month 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.

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Estate Lawyer: Attorney2, Attorney replied 1 month ago

Are you still online with me?

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