Creditors rights to debts owed by deceased spouse

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Creditors rights to debts owed by deceased spouse

My wife passed away two months ago with no estate. Am I obligated to pay the balnace owed on her credit cards?

Asked on May 9, 2009 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Well, first and foremost my condolensces to you.  Second, these were debts accumulated during marriage? If so, California is a community property estate -- so whatever you own jointly goes to you without probate.  Whatever her credit card has a debt, you owe.  Why? Because in California, even if you have separate bank accounts, any monies debited or credited during a valid marriage is community property or community debt.

Talk to an estate planning/probate attorney in California to help you with the process if there are a lot of assets and debts.  Try www.attorneypages.com and then check his or discipline history at www.calbar.ca.gov at attorney search.


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