What should we do about my elderly dad’s debt?

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What should we do about my elderly dad’s debt?

My 83 year-old dad has SSI for his only income/no assets. He has several old medical bills and 1 credit card bill that he has walked away from. I know they cannot attach his SS check, but should I send letters to the creditors or let it be. He cannot afford an attorney to file for bankruptcy. He has moved to a different state and does not have a bank account nor intends to get one.

Asked on October 26, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No one can "advise you" to walk away from paying a legitimate debt or to avoid paying a legitimate debt.  But one can advise you that the bills of your Father will be bills of his estate when he passes on.  You will not be held personally liable for them.  For the credit card he was the person that took out the card, correct?  And the only person that signed the cardholder agreement, correct? Then even if you were an authorized signor on the account you are not responsible (unless they jump through other hoops which I doubt that they will).  Is there a way to help negotiate the debt and pay it off?  If not and then bankruptcy is really the only avenue the estate may have to file it when all is said and done.  Good luck.


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