If my aunt has died and has over $30,000 in credit card debt, what are we legally obligated to do?

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If my aunt has died and has over $30,000 in credit card debt, what are we legally obligated to do?

Her house and car are paid for. Debt collection, bankruptcy or debt settlement?

Asked on August 5, 2011 Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Why are you obligated to do anything, if it was your aunt's debt? You are not liable for her debts, unless and only to the extent that you in some fashion guaranteed or co-signed for them. Her creditors (e.g. the credit card company) may be able to seek payment from her estate, which may be reduce what you could inherit from the estate, but they cannot proceed directly against you unless you, as noted above, took responsibility for  the debt in some fashion.

As to your aunt's estate--I don't believe an estate can file bankruptcy. So the only options are pay  (if the estate can), try to work out a settlement (if possible), or simply allow the creditors to proceed against the estate and accept that you will not be able to inherit much, if the estate  is worth less than $30k.


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