Question 1: Who is responsible for paying my credit cards if my spouse dies?
Answer: That depends on the credit card account and the state in which you live. If your spouse was the sole account holder, then only he or she is responsible for paying. Any debt on account has to be repaid by the estate and not by you. On the other hand, if you were joint account holders, the surviving spouse is personally responsible for the debt. Also, if you live in a community property law state, you may have to pay for your deceased spouse’s credit card debt even if he or she was the sole account holder. However, Arkansas is not a community property state so most Arkansas residents do not have to worry about this.
Question 2: What if the credit card company tells me I’m responsible?
Answer: Don’t believe them right away. Review the credit card account to determine if you are a joint account holder. If you are not a joint account holder, you aren’t usually responsible for paying even if the card company tries to convince you that you are. Contact an attorney and ask how you can stop the creditor from contacting you. If they are too aggressive, you may even be able to sue them.
Question 3: Can I use my spouse’s cards after he or she dies?
Answer: Probably not. You can only continue using the card if you are a joint account holder. If you are an authorized user or otherwise used a card that your spouse owned, you can no longer use it after he or she dies.