Credit Card Bills and Death
Death of a spouse
At such a time, it's of course extremely difficult to think about financial matters. But there are a few essential responsibilities that need to be taken care of to avoid a greater burden at a later date.
Contact Your Lenders
Notify all of your lenders of your spouse's death. Discuss closing all joint accounts and opening new accounts in your name alone. You can also request a legal release of your debt obligation from lenders. Until you have this release, however, the debts will remain on your credit report.
Contact the Social Security Administration
Don't forget to notify the SSA as soon as possible after your spouse's death. You may be eligible for benefits that could help you through this time.
Determine if You Live in a Community Property State
Any account you open while you are married is considered a joint account in states that are community property states. In these states, debts are viewed as joint debts, even if they are opened only in one individual's name. Upon your spouse's death, you are responsible for any outstanding debts on these accounts.
Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.