Collecting Debt From Widows

If you’re newly-widowed, as in your husband or wife has just passed away, it’s safe to say you’re going to be in an unusual emotional state. And by “unusual” we mean you’ll be grieving, confused and exhausted, among other things. That’s exactly the time for some debt collectors to come knocking. In that state, the newly-widowed state, the emotions will bowl over the calm and logical part of yourself, and you’re likely to do whatever the person asks.

In Carole Brody Fleet’s case, who, widowed, opened a letter from a debt collector who demanded that she pay up on her deceased husband’s credit card balance, she describes being in just the state where if she hadn’t known otherwise, she may have simply paid up.

In her article on the Huffington Post, she describes how the debt collector, in the letter sent to her, says that she was “obviously responsible” for paying up on her deceased husband’s debts. But though the law differs from state to state, unless Fleet’s name was jointly on that credit card, it was in no way “obvious” that she owed the debt.

Fleet writes: “[Y]ou must be willing to advocate for yourself (or find experts who will advocate on your behalf) and demand to be treated with respect, with dignity and within the limits of the law.”

And holding debt collectors accountable to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is one way to do just that.

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Collecting Debt From Widows