Surviving family members who have been contacted by debt collectors regarding the debts of a deceased relative.
Surviving relatives who paid a deceased family member's debt may be entitled to monetary damages.
Under debt collection law, collections agencies, companies that purchase delinquent debts and attorneys who regularly collect debts are considered debt collectors.
A debt collector is an individual who regularly collects debts owed to others.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a law which protects surviving family members and prohibits debt collectors from abusive practices, was added in 1978 to the Consumer Credit Protection Act.
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According to the Federal Trade Commission, surviving family members generally are not responsible for the debts of relatives who have died. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects the rights of surviving family members and prohibits debt collectors from using unfair or deceptive practices to collect outstanding debts. If you are paying a deceased relative’s debt, you may be able to participate in a lawsuit to recover related damages. Fill out our free case review form today to find out if you are eligible.
Generally, when an individual passes away, any outstanding debts will be collected from their estate. If the estate cannot satisfy the debt, it would remain unpaid. Therefore, most surviving relatives are not required to pay debts left behind by deceased relatives. There are several exceptions regarding spousal debts, but even a spouse’s obligation to pay may be limited under state laws.
If you are contacted by a debt collector attempting to collect a deceased relative’s debt, remember that most relatives have no obligation to pay debts of deceased family members. The debt collector may use a variety of unethical tactics to coerce you into paying the deceased relative’s debt. He or she may try to guilt you into paying a debt of a deceased family member or misrepresent to a relative that they are obligated to pay a deceased spouse’s debt. In extreme cases, negative information about the surviving relative is reported to the credit agencies or a lawsuit is filed against them, even though the debt collector knows that the surviving family member is not responsible for the debt.
Surviving relatives who have been contacted by debt collectors in regard to a deceased family member’s debt should fill out our free case review form. If the debt collector violated federal or state laws, and you have suffered damages as a result, you may be entitled to participate in a lawsuit.