Ask Terry Questions Husband died a left a lot of credit card debt

Husband died a left a lot of credit card debt

By Terry Savage on November 04, 2023 | Credit/Debt

My husband died in Sept of this year. What do I do with all this credit card debt that I can’t pay? Since I do not have his social security and as of right now I don’t know have much I will get for being his widow.

Terry Says

First, check your credit report at It’s free and you can do it safely online. The big question is: Do any of those cards with balances show up on YOUR credit report? That is, are any of them in your name, as well as his.

If they are NOT on your credit report, just send a copy of the death certificate registered mail along with the latest statement, informing them that he is deceased and there is no estate. You would not be held responsible for those debts.

On the other hand, if you find those cards on YOUR credit report, then you do have resonsibility for those debts. You’ll need trusted help dealing with them. Contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at 800-388-2227.

But first, make sure any bank accounts you held jointly are transferred into your name alone. Best to open a new account at a different bank, and withdraw the funds from the joint account and close it. That will at least give you a fresh starting point.

It is difficult to get a good answer from Social Security (read my new book on that) so I advise you go to and pay the $39 to the accurate amount you should receive. They will help you through the process.

Finally, did he leave a will? If so, the attorney who prepared it originally (or the law firm) should guide you through the probate process if necessary. There’s a lot to consider if you owned a home jointly, for example. I wish I could give you more specific advice, but please write back if you still have questions.

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