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When Must I Pay the Death-Debt Collector My Deceased Relative’s Debts?

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you may be liable:

  • If you co-signed the obligation, such as a personal loan

  • If you live in one of the community property states of Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.Alaskais an opt-in community property state that gives both parties the option to make their property community property.

  • If you are the deceased person’s spouse and state law requires you to pay a debt, like some health care expenses. For example, you may have co-signed the agreement to pay hospital bills at the time of admission.

  • If you were legally responsible for resolving the estate and didn’t comply with certain state probate laws. This is very unusual.

If none of these exceptions apply to you, the debt is not yours and you need not pay it. If any of these exceptions apply to you, seek the advice of a lawyer. If you are obligated to pay, please review the bills for accuracy before paying.

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