Does your credit card debt die when you do?Wednesday Jul 01, 2009
I hate to go along with every other media source known to man, but the death of Michael Jackson is the hot topic. There are soooo many ways I could go with this blog to make it a "Thriller", but since I am confined to the most boring topics on the face of the earth, it will most likely be "Bad". That will be the extent of my jokes for today. I will be here all week.
Recently, with all the coverage on Jackson's death, I have come to learn a lot more about the pop star that I was unaware of before. Besides watching re-runs of a surplus of crotch grabbing, zombies dancing in alley ways, and a psychotic looking man holding a baby over a balcony railing, I have learned that MJ accrued an enormous amount of debt during his relatively short lifetime. So that got me thinking....What happens to individuals debts when they die? What happens to all the credit card debt that is left behind?
If you are planning on racking up an insane amount of debt and then dying so you don't have to pay it off, pay close attention to what I am about to write. As long as your credit card is not a joint account, the debt you have saved up cannot be passed on to relatives in most cases. The credit card company then must turn to the deceased estate to pay off the debt. Fortunately for the King of Pop, his estate will be able to cover the debt he left behind. I knew Never Land Ranch was good for something other than.....well I won't go there.
For us mere mortals who don't have billions of dollars in assets or luxurious estates, the credit card companies turn the problem over to collection agencies who are more than willing to bend a few rules to get the money that is owed. More times than not, these agencies will try to convince family members into feeling as though they are obligated to pay the debt off. This is only the case, if it was a joint credit card like I mentioned before.
Like I said before, the debt is first looked to be paid off by the individuals estate. If there is no estate and no assets to be found, it is likely that the debt won't be able to be paid. In most cases, family members and loved ones are not legally responsible to pay this money back. I guess, in the end, your credit card debt can die with you but the odds are not in your favor. When you die you want people to think about the best parts of you, not the fact they are stuck paying back your debt. The moral of this story is don't build up debt and then die..... However, if you are on the other end of the spectrum, don't pay back any money that you are not legally obligated to pay back. If debt collectors are calling you for this money, redirect them to your lawyer. And if they keep calling, firmly tell them to "Beat It".
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