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Understand the collection process when a loved one dies

When your loved one dies, you think that what they own is going to come to you. One thing that you might not be prepared for is that bill collectors might come calling. It is important for you to learn about what you can do if they do contact you.

Typically, heirs don't have to pay the bills of their loved ones who have passed away. Instead, the decedent's estate is responsible for paying the debts that have amassed. This means that you don't have to pay a penny out of your own pocket.

This is one area where some debt collectors will make errors. They must follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in all circumstances. This act has some very specific guidelines that must be followed. One of these is that the debt collector can't use deceptive techniques to collect money. They can't abuse, harass or threaten you to try to get you to pay the debts.

When a debt collector contacts you in connection with your deceased relative's debts, you can simply point them toward the administrator or personal representative of the estate. This takes you out of the process and puts them in touch with someone who might be able to help them with their collection.

Make sure that you don't provide any of your personal information with the debt collector. Unscrupulous debt collectors might use your personal information to defraud you of money. These types of scams aren't exactly common but they do occur, so make sure that you take steps to keep yourself protected while you await your inheritance.

Source: FindLaw, "Paying the Debts of a Deceased Relative: Who Is Responsible?," accessed July 05, 2017

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