Back to the Learning Center

By: Scott Grossman on April 10th, 2018

What should I do if credit card companies are contacting me regarding my deceased loved one’s estate?

Administering a probate in California can be a confusing process for those unfamiliar with the procedures. Unfortunately, failing to understand the responsibilities of an executor, administrator, or family member of a deceased individual can be costly. Are credit card companies contacting you regarding your loved one’s estate? Credit card companies can be very aggressive in their attempts to collect payment on a debt.

The following is a list of helpful tips for what to do if you credit card companies are contacting you:

  • First of all, contact an experienced San Diego probate attorney immediately for guidance.
  • Also, do not make any payments without first consulting with your probate attorney.
  • Furthermore, request appropriate documentation to confirm the debt is valid.
  • Additionally, do not agree to make payments on the debt out of your personal funds. Some creditors may try to convince you that you have a personal responsibility to pay the debt by virtue of your relationship to the decedent. In many cases, this is not true.
  • Finally, if the creditor is harassing you, consider having your California estate attorney send a letter demanding that all further communication be directed to his or her office.

In conclusion, paying a debt of an estate prematurely can result in the inability to pay back other creditors who are of a higher priority according to the California probate laws. Similarly, paying a debt that is invalid could open an executor up to scrutiny. Paying a debt out of your personal assets may be unnecessary, as you may not have any obligation or responsibility for paying this debt.

Clearly, it is very important to obtain the guidance of an experienced legal professional before taking any action relating to a debt of a decedent. To learn more about the estate administration process, view our free guide The Insider’s Guide to California Probate and Trust Administration. Contact an experienced San Diego estate lawyer today for additional assistance. Call our toll-free number at (888) 443-6590 for a consultation.

Administrator (noun):

The Administrator of an Estate is a legal term. This term refers to someone appointed by a Court to administer the Estate of a deceased person with no Will.

Executor (noun):

Person named in a Will as the person who will make sure that the instructions in the Will are followed. They are responsible for executing the Will, and are either appointed by the court or by the deceased person. They are responsible for taking care of a deceased person’s financial obligations. Financial obligations include disposing of property and paying bills and taxes. The executor must also make certain that the deceased last wishes are carried out according to the Will.