Many times I will receive a phone call from a widow or widower asking whether they are legally responsible for the debts of the deceased spouse. Often times, these debts are medical debts related to a last illness. Collection firms will often contact the surviving spouse and inform the surviving spouse that they are responsible for these medical debts.
In every case, basic contract law controls. If you as the surviving spouse did not sign an actual agreement making you responsible for the debt, you are not liable for it. If the collection agent persists with taking the position that you are responsible for a debt that you do not owe, you can instruct them by letter to contact your attorney. Your attorney can in turn in form the collector that (1) you are not liable for the debt, and (2) that their actions may violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ( by making a false representation as to the legal status of the debt: that you are liable when in reality you are not.
If you have questions on whether you are liable for a debt, please contact Mobile, Alabama bankruptcy attorney Kevin M. Ryan for a free telephone or office consultation. Bankruptcy offices are located in Mobile, Alabama (209 N. Joachim Street, Mobile, Alabama 36603) and in Robertsdale, Alabama (22011 Highway 59, Robertsdale, Alabama 36567). (251) 241-5234.