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Community Manager

Get your fraud and scam questions answered

Welcome to the Online Community! Have you or someone you know been a victim of fraud or want to know how to spot a scam online? Online scams and fraud happen every day to people just like you and we want to hear about it. AARP Expert Amy Nofziger is here to answer your questions about scams. Post below for your chance to share your experience and have your questions answered! 

 

About Amy: Amy Nofziger leads all of AARP Foundation Consumer Protection activities, including relationships with private foundations, Federal and State regulators, Attorney Generals, and local community partners. Amy also manages the AARP Fraud Helpline and is AARP’s subject matter expert on fraud and scams. She has been with the AARP Foundation since 2002. Amy has worked with The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports, The Dr. Phil show and many others on helping to shed light on fraud and exploitation of older adults.

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Conversationalist

@lipintm, that is why you can lose your shirt buy doing stupid things.  What was done is legal and smart but not eithical.  You need to know what is what long before the person dies.  My wife's uncle died a year ago and she is still using one of his cards.  She only uses it for estate costs.  Of course she paid for the memorial service from the estate.  You don't have to pay inheritance tax on those expenses. 

 

My wife did ignore my advice for getting an estate attorney who is expert on our state's inhertance laws. Her girl friend told her the guy I suggested charges too much since then she has relaized that friend is penny wise and pound foolish. Her friend lost half her fortune trying to save a few bucks.  The estate will loose over half to different taxes.  Over a half million lost to save $5,000 what a joke!

 

Anyhing in life that can lose you money needs to be carefully figured out.  There is no law that says you have to notify your CC company of a death.  If it is connected to a bank account you may have to.  Then you needed to have is set up in a joint account with the executor of the estate.  If the person is not the spouse the type of account needs to be a special one where after death the other account holder has rights like a spouse. It is yours tax free. If your bank doen't have that type of account move the money to one that does. Often when you go to withdraw they get a burst of genious and can help you do what you need to do.  That is what you can use to pay estate expensise or just keep since that money is free and clear. My wife uses that accouunt but moves money in to pay for eastate expenses. You need to take care that it is exactly the right type of account.  Otherwise you will be screwed! 

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Conversationalist

I think it's true, because I know of 2 people that used a credit card after the person died and did not have to pay it.  It's a loss to the credit card company.  The credit card company also said so, you don't have to pay it, it's under the deceased name.

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Honored Social Butterfly

@lipintm

 

ANY unpaid debts of a person when they die are suppose to be paid out of their estate by their executor.  If they have no Will, various state laws govern the process and a personal representative is appointed to handle the matters.

 

As to your 1st example - when the death certificate is supplied to the credit card issuer, they will make an attempt to collect from the estate - if no estate, the authorized user could be on the hook for all charges but specifically for those made after the date of death.

 

Again, in your 2nd example - the estate of the deceased will be paying for the balance remaining on the credit card or if his wife was on the account as a joint holder or authorized user, the party left standing is responsible.

 

Creditors of all type know what to do to collect in most instances.  There aren't really any loopholes for honest people.

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Periodic Contributor

Thanks for your comments Gail. There is no estate as it was set up as TOD (transfer upon death) although the house is selling for $500K. His daughter, the one I am describing, got ALL the belongings in the house and will get a portion of the sale of the house. She told me she is an authorized user and the customer service at the credit card said if she just said “NO” she wouldn’t have to pay anything on the $5000 balance. I suspect she isn’t being truthful about this at all This incenses me because we ALL pay for this. Plus my own mother died around the same time and we did the responsible thing and paid ALL her bills, knowing that is what she would want us to do. 

In the second example the wife was NOT an authorized user although I have since found out that some credit cards will waive paying the balance if the husbands death was on foreign soil. 

What surprises me about the first case is how there is nobody to report this fraud to. You would think there would be an easy way to report credit card fraud. Meanwhile they are buying new cars, taking trips and going on early retirement. 

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Conversationalist

@lipintm, if they spend enough, the CC company will likely extract it from them (you).  You make sure it comes out of her share!  Only the most foolish are buying new cars, taking trips and going on early retirement until after the dust settles.  Spend a good amount of time finding a top lawyer.  Fools and their money are easily parted. Don't let her piss away YOUR MONEY!  People like that make carelss mistakes.  Jusy make sure you don't make any mistakes.

 

The type of account was a TOD account.

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