Few people think about death and credit card debt when a friend or relative dies but someone needs be on top of the situation and immediately inform the family on what to do and not to do or money will be lost by the estate and any heirs.
State laws vary greatly on how estates are handled so the very best course of action upon the death of a credit card holder is to use federal law https://www.tragedyinfo.com/zumbi-zion-death-obituary-zumbi-zion-cause-of-death/, specifically the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to remove the card debt just as a living person would do with a few minor differences.
Funeral homes notify the Social Security Administration of a persons death, help create death certificates and file obituary notices for public records. You absolutely do not want to send any information to a credit card company yet.
Sending death certificates to credit card companies or collectors only makes their mouth water when they think of devouring an estate so do not send the certificates to creditors. If credit card companies or debt collectors call you can truthfully say the person is not here and offer to take a message. Do not give them any information on the phone whatsoever.
You must keep the card companies or their collectors in the dark for as long as possible. This will give the executor or person in charge of the estate time to get organized. As soon as possible after the deceased burial needs are accomplished, the executor should immediately gather all credit card account information and physically destroy the plastic credit cards. Use of a credit card after death is fraud.
You can now send a letter by registered mail with return receipt to the card company or collection agency notifying them that you represent the deceased estate and require “verification” of any alleged debt owed by the estate which will catch them by total surprise.
The card company or collector will probably send old account billing statements which prove absolutely nothing. If they have a really top-notch collection unit they might send a sworn affidavit of some person saying that the account statement is true which will lay the groundwork for filing a collection lawsuit against the estate hoping to obtain a property lien on the estate.
As the executor of the estate you will go to the county courthouse and file a sworn denial on behalf of the estate which will be filed at the courthouse and a copy sent to the card company or collector. This will force a live witness that had personal knowledge of the deceased account to be produced for any further legal procedures.
The sworn denial is simply a statement denying the debt, if there is a debt it is not the estates debt, if it is the estates debt then it is not for the correct amount. The card company will not be able to produce this witness so their chance of winning a lawsuit or judgment against the estate is lost.
Although this information may seem a bit gruesome at the time it is necessary to know about death and credit card debt or the credit card companies and collectors will take a big chunk or all of the estate and anything the heirs had coming to them.