What to do if I ran my late father’s credit report and discovered that my brother has opened 3 credit cards under my father’s name?

I am the trustee for my father’s estate. His house is currently in escrow and should close in about 3 weeks. They have the same name. I plan on paying off the debts that were my father’s but not the ones my brother fradulently opened. Am I liable for knowing that my brother did this but didn’t take action?

Asked on April 15, 2014 under Estate Planning, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, you are not liable for merely knowing about this--you'd only be liable if you in some way facilitated it. That said, unless you take appropriate action--e.g. reporting this criminal act (since that's what it is: criminal) to the police--his debts will be debts of your father's estate and will eat into what is available to your father's heirs and beneficiaries, such as yourself.

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