Jump to content

Not in Probate, JDB Harassment question

Recommended Posts

I am attempting to understand probate law. I fact of law I know little about. When an individual dies, it’s not unusual for creditors to attempt to collect debts from surviving relatives. However, I understand I am not responsible for the debts of family members who were not my spouse.

I have been contacted by a debt collector; advise them that the person they are trying to reach is deceased. I did not provide them with the contact information of the deceased’s personal representative (the individual in charge of administering or executing the estate). The individual, my mother (MIL) passed away with no estate other then clothes and a few CD we donated to good will.

She opened these credit cards late in life while on limited income and social security. When asked, on the application form for income verification, she replied ‘none of your businesses'. She was an interesting and philosophical old soul, whom I noticed her reply and questioned her sanity to her delight, on such applications.

Regardless, the credit card companies accepted the agreement and issued the cards. She made her purchases and sent her payments with regularity as the cards increased her limits and then slammed [increased] interest rates on accounts that have never been late.

OK, TMI, now my question; My wife has kept family keepsake of some small pieces of jewelry. She values them and would like to keep the remaining last air looms. The JDB has sent a request for probate info claiming they have rights to collect from me. I think this merely a ploy to get me to admit info to support collection efforts.

This debt collector persists in contacting and harassing me. I sent them a certified, return-receipt letter advising the collector to stop all contact. I now have several violations in accordance to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collector may not continue contacting you after you have sent them this letter except to acknowledge your letter or notify you of specific actions, such as filing a lawsuit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, in regards to the probate stuff, the general rule is what your mother owns has to stand good for what she owes. In this case, you mother owned some furniture, clothing, CDs, maybe a car, and family heirloom jewelry. My guess is when this is all tallied up, then will amount to less than $5000. I assume that your total debt is in the tens of thousand area. Now the first thing that is usually paid is funeral expenses (unless some kind family member paid those), then the other creditors. In this case, the creditors get a death certificate, a pro-rata payment based on what was in the estate, and then that is it.

Other family members, if they did not get any property from the estate, are not responsible for any debt. If they did get any property from the estate, then they must pay what that property is worth. In this case, I would bet that most of the jewelry is work $500 max. I would just give that money to the personal representative to pay on the debt and be done with that.

Now as for contact, what they are counting on is being able to say that your are lying or withholding information and hence, they can keep calling you as a third party. However, your defense to that is the C&D letter which trumps the liar exemption. I am sure a good NACA lawyer should be able to get you the $500 back then some.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have employed a local NACA lawyer on other cases, but would prefer to move this forward on my own. My reasons, while not completely of self-interest, are born out of preference for trial, and in part for the experience the educational opportunities it presents.

Few cases afford the Pre Se opportunity in trial court practice as most are settled prior to trial. This may be the only case were the advantage is there without great risk to hardship it may bring in a worse case outcome.

So, ...

I have heard others explain their own experience with ITS letters and FDCPA damages a party may seek. Some have said dig down deep for thousands more then settle at a reasonable price.

While my aim is clear a settlement offer would be welcome, but not a necessity at this time. The experience is more valuable to me for future encounter if applied accordingly.

I evidence I have collected is,

1) 2 C&D letters (CMRR) one with death certificate attached

2) 37 telephone calls past the 1st C&D delivery date

3) Several recorded calls all admissible evidence in FL with clear violations and threats

4) 2 admissions of guilt that the calls will continue until debt is satisfied

5) 3 recorded conversations with a ‘law office’ caller ID falsely claiming

an impending law suit (1 claiming to be a lawyer – no Bar number provided)

6) Several calls to cell phones and pre-recorded (robo-calling) with threatening messages

7) 26 calls of ‘unkown’ caller ID with recorded messages from collector on land line

8) 11 calls from ‘unkown’ caller ID with recorded messages from collector on cell line

They continue today employing new numbers, names, and companies of various methods designed to hide identity – all traceable back to the original debt collector.

I think I’d like to start with the ITS letter then file my lawsuit.

Maybe give it 32 days for review and negotiation before lawsuit.

They certainly haven’t given me a day!

Anyone have experience with similar negotiations I'd appreciate a shout?

Edited by FL4answer58
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You do not owe them a dime and you normally do not owe them an explaination either once you advised them of her passing. I have been through this 3 times now with dozens on OCs, CAs and JDB. Most went away completely after advising them of the death. 3 have decidedto play my little game and keep hounding me. 1 settlement, 1 AG action againest the CA owner personally, 1 settle negotionation ongoing and one case being served within days. This type of situation pushes a bunch of buttons for me.

When a person dies in the US without a will it is called Intestate. When they have no or little assets there is no need for probate procedures. If the total of her assets value as sold at a yard sale will not cover the final expenses (i.e. funeral, medical expenses, etc.) then no crediter has standing what so ever. If you kept some items of sentimental value and paid the final expenses, you are not liable at all. The only possibility would be if it cost you say $7K (not an unreasonable amount) for final expenses and you kept a $50K antique then you would likely be liable.

For a quick overview of FL Probate law See: http://www.floridaprobatelitigationlawyer.com/2010/03/payment_of_expenses_and_claims.html

Your response to their request of probate info is simple. "She passed away intestate without any assets and there are no probate requirements or process. Do not contact me further as doing so is an obvious attempt to illegally harass me while I am greiving into paying a debt which is not mine, nor under any therory am I liable for".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WhoCares1000 – Thanks – Will start suit

KentWA – Wow, 3 times! Also a button for me. I need the trail experience so I don’t mind the fight. Called Intestate – "She passed away intestate without any assets" - that I did not know, good term to know – very helpful for my searches on Pacer and Lex – a big thank you! Also, Thank you for FL Probate law link.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.