by Steven Malach, Chair of the Estate Planning and Elder Care practice at the Lipson Neilson law firm, and founder of the Center for Estate Planning (CEP).
When dealing with the extremely emotional implications of the death of a spouse, dealing with debt left by your loved one is probably not your first concern. However, you need to know this is a crucial issue that does need to be taken seriously going forward.
The best advice in this situation is to not be intimidated by creditors. Be aware that there are financial institutions (Credit Card Companies, Loan originators, etc.) that will take advantage of your vulnerable state.
Seek advice from an attorney who specializes in estate matters and a certified financial planner for your specific responsibilities. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was enacted by the Federal Trade Commission to protect consumers against illegal collection tactics.
Remember – during your grief, the law protects you from being taken advantage of.