Q: My mother gave me permission over the past 2 years to use her credit card and I have paid faithfully every month assuming the debt as my responsibility. Just recently my mother passed away. I immediately contacted the card company and they said the debt can’t be transferred to my name, that it has to be turned into the estate. My family is up in arms and is now trying to get me for embezzlement, which my mom allowed me to use her card with her permission and she gave me the statement each month when it came in the mail for me to pay. Please help me with this matter. I know a time or two my mother has had the card company on the phone and told them that it was ok for them to talk with me about the card. But not sure if she actually had my name listed with the card company to us.
A: This isn’t the first time this has happened. If the creditor files a claim against the estate, the estate attorney can put them on notice that certain debts will not be honored by the estate as they were not your mother’s expenditures or your mother did not authorize them. The attorney can win this argument as long as he has proof, which you would assist him with, i.e., a statement from you, copies of all of the statements which show items that an older woman would not purchase, i.e. i tunes, designer jeans, concert tickets, etc. just for an example. If you acknowledge these debts and are capable of paying them , there should be no problem. If you cannot afford to pay them now, the credit card company is unlikely to separate them out from your mother’s debts. I am sure the credit card company wants the estate to be obligated as it is easier to be paid than suing you, I am assuming. I would tell the estate attorney where you stand .