Is a wife responsible for a deceased husband’s debt?

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Is a wife responsible for a deceased husband’s debt?

MY DAD DIED 10 YEARS AGO OWING 1500.00 ON A CREDIT CARD. MY MOM HAS BEEN SERVED WITH PAPERS FOR A LIEN ON THE HOMESTEAD. SHE IS ON S.S AND 88 YEARS OLD. SHE ONLY GETS S.S. AND DIDN’T EVEN KNOW OF THE LOAN. CAN THEY LIEN HER HOME? SHOULD SHE ATTEND THE SUMMONS AT COURT?

Asked on July 19, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Texas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the debt was your Father's alone and your Mother was not an original owner of the account then she is not responsible for the debt.  Your Father's estate was responsible.  Did he have an estate or did it pass to your Mother automatically upon his death (house, bank accounts, etc.)?  But she can not ignore the Summons and Complaint.  Is it against her?  You need to call on her behalf.  There is a Statute of limitations for suing on unsecured debt.  It is 4 years from the time that the action accrues.  Generally that means from the date it became a viable action and that usually means 4 years after the last payment was made.  Seek help from a credit counselor as well.  There has to be an affirmative defense listed in the answer that states that the action was not commenced within the applicable statute of limitations and is time barred.  Also  one that states that she is not a proper party to the action.  Good luck.


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