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What Happens To Debt After Death?

5:36 PM, Aug 2, 2013   |    comments
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Orange Park, FL -- Debt after death. What happens to it after you or your loved one dies?

One Florida man is discovering where debt goes the hard way. He said letters from a bank keep coming and they demand money for a car loan.

He says the thing is, the borrower of that loan is his father in-law -- who is deceased.

Robert Tadej said his father in-law bought a 2012 Chevrolet Cruise last year. But, his father-in law unexpectedly died in January.

"When he passed away it becomes an issue of property that has to be dealt with," said Tadej. 

Tadej said his father-in-law financed the car through Bank of America.

He said his family ended up returning the car to a local branch in Jacksonville on Baymeadows Road in March, but he claims letters addressed to the deceased started showing up at his mother in-law's home.

"A letter that started out with 'Mr. Pickett, we have your vehicle, because you failed to keep a promise to us,'" Tadej paraphrased.

One of the letters appeared to ask for more than $5,000 in payments owed.

Tadej said he wants the bank "to acknowledge... to accept the death certificate. Stop sending the letters to my mother in law's house."

Bank of America spokesperson, Matthew Daily, told FCN:

"We offer our condolences to the family on their loss and take their concerns seriously. While we can't comment specifically on individual accounts because of customer privacy, the bank follows probate law, and we are restricted by those regulations."

Bankruptcy Attorney and financial expert, Jason Burgess who's not connected to any of this, told FCN that banks are legally within their rights to seek payment for debts owed by a deceased borrower.

First For You, Burgess said the way to stop collections is to file a probate case. Burgess said that notifies all creditors that the person is in fact deceased. He said it also lists their assets, if any.

To avoid a situation like this, Burgess recommends:

  • Get some sort of probate attorney.
  • Do not avoid the creditors, that makes it appear as if you have something to hide. Stay in communication with them
  • Start gathering all the information you have about the decease like a will, bills and assets.

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