Question: Do you have to pay the debt of a deceased relative?
According to the FTC the answer in most of the cases is that you are not obligated to pay a deceased relative's debt. One of the few exceptions is when the debt was co-signed by a relative.
Consult this FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) provided by the FTC for detailed information:
You need to keep in mind that debt collectors may attempt to collect the debt of the deceased person's estate, in that case the person managing the estate would be responsible for paying the debt.
For example if this was a secured debt where the loan was taken to purchase a car, the debt collector may reclaim that car because the car loan was not paid in full.
This doesn't mean that if the debt collector is contacting you that they have grounds to collect the debt. There are debt collectors who skim the obituaries and contacts relatives to collect a debt that they are not obligated to pay. They justify this by saying "you have a moral obligation to pay the debt".
Read the following article by FTC to find out the debts for which you may be held accountable.
If you still have unanswered questions you can contact them directly by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)
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