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My father ran up debt before diagnosed with dementia. Is my mom responsible to pay the debt if the credit cards are in my dad's name?

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Unless you are connected at the hip, a Siamese twin, you are not responsible for another person's credit card debt....as long as your name is not on the app, the credit card or the Card on file. That's why we all have our own Social Security number, our own Individual Retirement Account ( IRA) , and our own name, date of birth and our own DNA. They may tell you otherwise, but you are not responsible for another person's debt.
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If they're married, I assume the credit card companies will try to come after her too. I'd contact each credit card company and ask for their policies in this kind of situation before contacting a lawyer. Get it from the horse's mouth.
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Actually, sharing debt is not part of marriage. If only one person signs, only one person is liable. Their estate is liable when they die. You can't sign your spouses name, that's called fraud, so how could signing your own name make them liable.
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Husband and wife share and share alike, income, debt, it matters not in whose name, singular or not. At my age, elderly I presume, there is little a card company can do to collect balance owed other than to turn it over to a collection agency. That then becomes a headache for who ever receives the collection phone calls, letters and etc from the collection agency. Contact a elder care attorney, a specialist in elderly matters, get some legal advise. First time vistis are usually without charge.
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I could be wrong, but I would think if they are married... then yes. Sad but true, sharing debt is part of a marriage...
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It may differ from state to state. Some states are "community property" states, some are not. Elder law attorneys can be awesomely helpful with things like this if they are familiar with your state's Medicaid and other financial regs.
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Thank you havefaith! I am not his guardian only his health care surrogate. I thought of the long term care insurance for myself but would not know who to call or where to start on that one. At the moment I am tending to my father and it takes all of the 24 hours in a day. He is upset with me at the moment since I had to converse with him last night that I need a rest from caretaking and in the new year we have to do something different. It is sad and I know it is the holidays but I am getting too worn out for this after two long years of doing it by myself. Thank you for your support. It means a lot to me! Blessings
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@crystal1224

I do not believe that you are financially responsible for any of the debt unless you have become his guardian and have signed legal papers as such. I would recommend speaking to a lawyer about all of this just to be absolutely sure. We are running into the same issues with my in laws. They don't have the debt but are sitting on a reverse mortgage of which they have just about run through that and only have social security after that. I do not recommend the reverse mortgage at all. They have no will or anything in place and have us all in quite a catch 22 to say the least. Nor will they do anything about it. So we've all had to back way some because if they won't listen then we have to abide by their wishes as difficult as it is and allow for them to live as they wish. The sad thing is in our case if they run out of finances and can not pay for their care taker any longer as my MIL has diabetes and is on dialysis and my FIL has mild dementia then the state will have to make the decisions for them. But this will be their choice, not ours. We dislike this situation that they have placed us in but they have given us no other options other then to honor their wishes and not hound them as they keep telling us that we do. So we just have to tough love it. I would highly recommend looking into long term care insurance for yourself as well as a will and living trust if you do no already have them in place. Then when you are in need of them you and/or your family won't need to worry about what to do financially. I wish you the best of luck and God Bless!
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You need to talk to a lawyer. Are you the POA, the execator in charge of finances etc? You need to find out what is protocol. Good luck, call for legal help.
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@faithinGod - I just read your reply. Here is my scenario. Dad has credit cards that he has been paying on for years. There is no will. There is no funds should he pass on do you mean to say because I am his caretaker and daughter that I would have to pay those. My name is not on any of his cards, Never has been. I don't co-sign for anything with anyone. I will keep this in mind when the time comes to contact his credit companies (2) and let them know. He also has a storage shed he has paid on for some 30 years. I wonder how we get access to that. Would it be the same thing? I don't believe anyone's name is on that either. Maybe my little brother I am not sure. Good questions to ask of my father now while he can still talk. This is a good topic of discussion. Thank you.
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Here's how it works.
Whoever owns the credit card accounts is responsible for payment. If your dad is the sole owner of the accounts, then he alone is responsible for payment. If any of the accounts are joint ownership, then your dad and the other person named as a joint owner would be equally responsible for payment.
My experience tells me things are not always as simple as they should be. So I suggest you ask your dad to let you get copies of his credit reports for him for free. Then you can confirm whose name(s) is on the accounts.

In general terms, when your dad passes away, it will be up to the estate's executors to notify his creditors and the credit bureaus. This will prevent possible identity fraud and be a courtesy to his creditors. His creditors would have to file a claim against the estate to collect any outstanding debts in his name. State laws determine how claims must be filed. It is hoped your father has a will. If he doesn't then that's another topic for you two to have a conversation about. When notifying creditors of a death, make sure to include a copy of the death certificate and the estate's contact information. This will prevent the creditors from contacting you or your other siblings looking for payment.

If there is no money in the estate, don't be surprised if they ask you for a payment even though you are not responsible. Getting loved ones to make a payment during a time of distress is very common, especially if the debt is in a collection status at the time.

That's for the future (and I hope well into the future); now a quick word about the present. It sounds as if your dad may be using credit to extend his income. With his cards maxed out, he has run out of credit to use. This could be the precursor to a default and collection action if he isn't careful. You might want to have a conversation with him about his finances, and determine how he is doing.

Some options he might consider include a consolidation loan, a balance transfer to another card or adjusting his budget to see if he can lower his expenses and keep up with his payments while living within his income. I wouldn't suggest he use his home's equity or a reverse mortgage unless they are part of an overall financial plan. Those loans are secured by assets that may require property to be sold at his death.

Once you have learned more about your dad's finances, then you will know what makes the most sense. As long as your dad's credit is still good, he may qualify for a loan to consolidate all the balances. However, he will need to have enough income to make the minimum payment due once all the debt is transferred.

Good luck.
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Yes she is responsible.Talk to the card companies and a lawyer.
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I don't think so if the cards are in his name only. I do know that if he dies with credit card debt in his name only, you are not responsible. You can contact the credit card company and they have to cancel the debt.
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Consult with your mom's accountant. Best wishes.
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