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My husband has dementia and incurred terrific credit card debt and even a line of credit on the house. Where the money has gone, I have no idea; however, this out of control debt was a trigger to his diagnosis.

The OP maybe needs to make sure they are not victims of identity fraud and that the cc charges and line of credit were not acquired by someone else who maybe scammed her husband. Maybe this is why she can't find where the money went...
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BurntCaregiver Aug 1, 2021
Geaton777,

Good point. The husband could have been scammed.
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Check with a lawyer who deals with elder law for your state.

Please take away any access to money. I like the idea of giving him a reloadable gift card from a major credit card company as his "debit" or "credit card."
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Somewhere there r credit card statements. I’d try to get those. They will tell the tale of where $ went & if he was scammed. Or he’s just buying shit he doesn’t need or doing cray cray stuff like online gambling or sex

How Is he making payments on CC & what is he using for $ to pay the debt? Is LOC $ being used to do mo minimum payments? Do y’all have a mortgage & car notes? Owe taxes?

I’m in the see a bankruptcy atty camp & initially by yourself. Most do a free consultation and you want to go in prepared with info on all the debt. I imagine the better BK ones will have a list of items they want you to bring in for the first visit….. it’s to see if you have to be a joint or he can do a separate filing; and if your a Chapter 7 or if you will have to do a 11 or 13. Some attorneys only, absolutely only do BK while others do other law as well. I’d get the BK only ones as they will know how much of an issue your hubs dementia is going to be….. like what the federal hearing officers for your district are apt to ask at the creditors meeting and if hubs can seem aware enough to answer so he can file on his own…. Or if you file joint, if the officer will let you do all the Questions & Answers without hubs speaking….. or if his dementia / incapacity means he cannot easily answer and so he cannot exactly do the required hearing so BK is not an option for him; plus they will know exactly how COVID is affecting the creditors meeting and if he / you can go via zoom…. They will know which companies are apt to show up at the hearing. The Bk only ones will also have a better idea as to how easy it will be to get affirmation done. I have a dear friend w huge medical debt (b 4 Covid) & is doing Ch 7, they had health insurance too it’s life flight &out of network related.
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Reply to igloo572
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This is really a question for an attorney. There are variables that make a difference in your responsibility. Please seek legal counsel. I would start the search by asking my tax professional if they have a good referral.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Stacy, she needs to see an eldetcare attorney to get control of their joint finances so he can't drain any more of their assets.

A forensic accountant might determine if a scam or financial abuse is in play, which will be useful if he needs Medicaid funding.
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Isthisrealyreal Jul 30, 2021
Stacy, no offense, if she can not be held responsible or have non SS income garnished why would she need to discharge (file bankruptcy) the debt and/or negotiate 0% interest?

I think that I stand by my original post, variables in the situation require her to see an attorney and consulting with a tax professional to find out what her unique situation is.
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As always, if you want to rely on legal advice, consult an appropriate attorney.

If I recall correctly, if you are in a community property state, both spouses are responsible for credit cards acquired after the marriage, even if the cards are only in one spouse's name. Otherwise you only are responsible for cards in your own name as a borrower, not as an authorized user.

The line of credit on the house puzzles me since I thought that all joint owners had to sign to get a loan. Maybe your state is different or maybe it was an inactive line set up in the past. I'd suggest checking for irregularities in the application.

Can you run (and then freeze) his credit reports as POA? If he has just been diagnosed, he may still be competent enough for a lawyer to update POA and other essential paperwork.
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BurntCaregiver Aug 1, 2021
Frebrowser,

You're right. If the house is owned jointly, then it would require both parties to agree to borrowing on it, or taking a line of credit.
This is why it sounds to me like the husband got scammed in some way.
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LastEgg, welcome to the forum. I am so sorry for this trouble.

The answer is very much stste dependent.

It is VERY much worth your while to engage a highly qualified ElderCare attorney to guide you. Perhaps a forensic accountant and lawyer working together can trace the funds.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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My SILs father had credit card in his name only in NC. He had only charged $500. SILs Mom was told she did not owe the debt. But as said, you need to find out the law in ur State.
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From what I remember of credit card obligations, it depends on some factors:

1.   Whether or not title to the card is held jointly, or 

2.   Whether or not one person is  a signatory only.

3.    There may be other criteria established by the issuer of the credit card, and there may have been legal changes during the pandemic.  

I used to rely on a good explanation by BankRate, but couldn't find the specific reference to obligations.

As to the line of credit, did you sign the loan documents?  If so, and the two of you executed it jointly, you do have responsibility.    In my experience, the banks I've dealt with require all owners of record (on the recorded title) to sign.    Under certain circumstances, someone might sign a Guaranty only, but not the other loan documents.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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You are not responsible for his credit card debt if your name isn't on them and they're not joint accounts.
Is your house in both of your names? If it is then how was your husband able to take a line of credit on it without your consent if it's owned jointly? That's what would worry me because it sounds like a scam.
Most definitely talk to whatever bank or lending agency he took this line of credit out on the house with.
As for the credit cards, don't even worry too hard about that. If the debt is under $10,000 they won't bother really going after it because it's not worth their time. You could just stop paying them entirely and wait it out. They'll harass you for a while with the phone calls and notices. They will then make you an offer to settle the debt. Usually for pennies on the dollar or the sell the debt to a collection company and they try to collect something on it.
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CFTruthSeeker Aug 3, 2021
Been there, done that. Had to pay the bills. I suggest you go through the house and see if you can find a "stash" somwhere. My LO took out a very large amount as 2nd loan on the house...
I was able to use a lawyer to sue the bank holding the loan, because they allowed him to borrow way over what was reasonable....Contact a lawyer...I was lucky to have Legalshield...They were fantastic.
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