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complicated cc debt after death
Old 05-29-2007, 04:31 PM   #1
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complicated cc debt after death

a friend recently inherited the majority of his mother's estate (consisting of a house worth about $600k).

after the estate settled, he learned that his evil brother had opened a credit card in his mother's name while the mother was alive and charged just under $10k on it. as my friend was executor of their mother's estate, and the brother has refused payment of the credit card, the credit card company is trying to get the money from my friend.

is my friend responsible for this debt?
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Old 05-29-2007, 04:42 PM   #2
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According to the geniuses at FatWallet, given similiar circumstances, no. Card is in Mom's name, not a secured debt, Mom's dead, tough beanie-weenies card company.

I'd say the estate is responsible and if evil son has any inheritance it goes toward paying the debt. But I'm NOT a lawyer, and this should be viewed as pointless drivel.
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Old 05-29-2007, 04:48 PM   #3
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i thought of it as unsecured. but his lawyer is telling him that because he was executor, that the credit card company can somehow attach the debt to his social security number thereby effecting his credit. i've never heard of such a thing. anyone?

the only money sort of received by the evil son was $90k which as instructed was used to pay off a mortgage the creep had put on his mother's house to flip in florida. my friend paid off that $90k as he intends to continue living in his inherited house.
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Old 05-29-2007, 04:52 PM   #4
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The executor of the estate is supposed to find out about all these wayward debts of the deceased. I think in some states the executor has to submit a performance bond. So probably friend is on the hook unless the estate was probated and the courted dismissed all debts not showing up in court.

He should report evil brother for fraud/theft and get the guy the help he needs in jail.
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Old 05-29-2007, 05:11 PM   #5
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So, if he used a lawyer to guide him through settling the estate wouldn't the attorney have some liability too?

I wonder about in this tale, who was receiving the credit card bills during this time?

Were I he I would consult with another attorney.
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Old 05-29-2007, 05:32 PM   #6
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Lazy,

No one is responsible for debts other than their own. The CC company is threatening to sue the executor for not performing their function properly. They can't just send him a bill.

The real wrinkle here is that the account was opened fraudulently. "Mom" didn't open the account so that should be the response. If she never signed the application the CC company can't try to collect from the estate. You can also probably show that the type of purchases made are inconsistent with an elderly lady. Also, where were the statements being sent? Hopefully, evil brother wasn't picking them out of the mail at her address.

As for the evil brother, he's a thief. It isn't your friends responsibility to turn him in but I wouldn't take the financial hit for him if he was my brother.
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Old 05-29-2007, 05:47 PM   #7
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Having dealt with a sort-of similar situation recently, we've had good luck (knock on wood with fingers crossed) sending the CC company a registered letter asking them to validate the debt. I modeled my letter on a sample from this site:

Sample Leter 9 - Request to a collection agency to validate a debt

It's been a little over a month and we haven't heard anything, whereas they had been calling every couple days and sending threatening-sounding letters.
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Old 05-29-2007, 06:22 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by 2B View Post

As for the evil brother, he's a thief. It isn't your friends responsibility to turn him in but I wouldn't take the financial hit for him if he was my brother.
But it might be worth $10k to pay the debt and then send the IRS a 1099 with the evil brother's name on it.
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Old 05-29-2007, 07:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by LOL! View Post
The executor of the estate is supposed to find out about all these wayward debts of the deceased. I think in some states the executor has to submit a performance bond. So probably friend is on the hook unless the estate was probated and the courted dismissed all debts not showing up in court.

He should report evil brother for fraud/theft and get the guy the help he needs in jail.
i do not believe he did a performance bond. i know ours was waived by mom in her will. i believe the estate was probated. i will find out if the probation period has ended.

interesting point on jail. i hadn't even thought of that. but in essense, if the evil son took out a cc in his mom's name, as i suspect without her knowledge, what he did was to steal her identity. yuck. i would not advise my friend to report this though as his brother tends towards violence.

brat. i will suggest to him his own lawyers possible liability. i wasn't real pleased with how much my lawyer cost in processing mom's estate but it did all go smoothly so at least i have that.

the bills went to the evil brother which is why my friend knew nothing of the cc. when the brother decided to stop payments on the cc, the card company came after him and he sent them after his brother as executor of the "card holder's" estate.

2b, thanx, i already told him i didn't see how the card company could somehow open an account in his name and charge him for a charge that was originally somebody else's. my friend asked to see the original contract which supposedly the credit card company can not produce.

thanx wm, i will send friend that link.

unclehoney, if only that would stiffen the sentence over and above identity theft to life with no chance of parole. the brother is large and violent and already decked my friend after the funeral in their mother's house. evil brother is not a nice guy.
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Old 05-29-2007, 07:34 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum View Post
my friend asked to see the original contract which supposedly the credit card company can not produce.
That tells you they know it isn't any good because they keep those "contracts." The question now becomes how much fighting it's worth. Credit collection agencies (blood suckers) will relentlessly lie, mislead and threaten to get money -- as much as they can. The less you fight the more they think they can get.

Edit: You need Martha's input.
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Old 05-29-2007, 08:38 PM   #11
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A few random thoughts. Evil brother sounds like a bad actor that apparently got cut out of the will. If paying $10,000 helps make any kind of peace in the family, it is worth thinking about, given how much money the good brother got.

If the probate is closed and the executor/administrator discharged, I would question whether the creditor could bring up the issue now. This is a question for the lawyer.

If the creditor can still make a claim, then I would at least consider taking a hard line with the creditor. But I think your friend has to talk over all the issues and risks involved with his lawyer. One risk of taking a hard line with the creditor is that the issue of identity theft or fraud by the bad brother likely will come out in the process. The end result is that someone very well may end up talking to the police. From what you said, this could be dangerous for your friend. The other risk is that the creditor could sue your friend or try to mess up your friend's credit, costing him money to fight that battle. One nice thing in my old firm was that we had a good number of lawyers with different areas of expertise. So if the probate people had a problem like this, they could talk to the debtor/creditor lawyers who were good at getting these type of creditors to go away.
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Old 05-30-2007, 12:08 PM   #12
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good point on peace in the family martha, though i think world peace might come first. i've already suggested my friend pay other items to his brother with similar reasoning. a friend last night suggested what you say about legitimacy of claim if probate has been closed.

excellent point on being careful to avoid inadvertent police involvement. i don't think i would have thought of that and, in my friend's anger, i'm certain he wouldn't have. will share all this with him.

thank you martha et al. for all your good input.
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Old 05-30-2007, 12:53 PM   #13
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Isn't anyone else disturbed by what appears to be someone getting away with stealing $10,000 and assault? It reads like this is probably the way this evil brother has always operated. Now is the chance to have something done about it. Otherwise, IMHO it will only get worse. I would not avoid police involvement at all if it was my evil brother.
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Old 05-30-2007, 01:31 PM   #14
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This is a clearcut case of Identity Theft. The fact that it was from a relative is immaterial. The person whose ID was stolen is now dead. CCco will chase the chain but they know they cannot win. Your friend as executor is clean. If CCco does anything to his credit record, he can sue CCco. They know that and will not likely do it.

The good news about CCcos is that they follow the paper trail when it comes to law. Harrassment is another issue. Just have him cover his tracks with well-written letters. They will go unacknowledged and eventually everything will fade away.
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Old 05-30-2007, 02:51 PM   #15
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Keep us posted.
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:41 PM   #16
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LOL - I'm with you - this is a case of theft -whether it's a family member or not, I have an issue with that - to me people who keep exhibiting this behavior and get away with is just keep upping the ante and behaving the same or worse. If my brother decked me (or anyone else for that matter), I'd would call the police and file an assault charge. To me, that is not acceptable except in boxing or war.....
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Old 05-31-2007, 02:50 AM   #17
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If the card was opened without the deceased mother's consent... It is illegal and is fraud.

Assuming that the Mother signed for the account... it is legal. If it is legal, it is the mother's debt. It will come from the estate. Bottom line... It is racking up huge interest charges... pay it if it is a legal debt.

If it was opened illegally, the bank can go after the brother. Credit card fraud and other types of theft are very common today (as you know). It is my understanding that the perpetrator is often a family member. Sad isn't it!

If the brother simply took advantage (legally conned) of the mother, the brother can file a law suit on behalf of the estate to recover the money from his share of the estate. Bottom line... It was a loan, not a gift! If he in fact spent the money... I am not an attorney, but believe the executor could likely recover the money. But, he had better try to do so before the money is distributed.
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