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barbiern
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My wife recently passed away and unbeknownst to me, she had created an online account for a credit card in my name. I discoverd this when I was calling creditors on her behalf. As my wife handled the finances for the past twenty years, she knew my personal information. I did not know about or sign any agreement to create this account. Even after explaining my circumstances, the creditor still refuses to work with me to at least reduce the payments on the account. They said that late charges would be assessed to the account if I didn't make the payments on time. As my wife made roughly 50% of the monthly income, I can not afford to pay this debt. Do I have any recourse in this matter?

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@barbiern - First of all, condolences on the passing of your wife.  That's horrible.  

 

Call customer service back, and tell them you were the victim of identity theft.  I would file an identity theft report on the account, saying that your wife opened the account without your knowledge.  What are the details of the debt?  Who is it with?  How much?

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The debt is a credit card with USAA with a $5,000 credit limit. And the amount owed on it is roughly $4,900. How do I go about filing the identity theft report on the account? I was told that I'm the primary on the account and my wife is the secondary. How can this be when I never signed any agreement?

 

Thanks for the help, I greatly appeciate it.

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The debt is a credit card with USAA with a $5,000 credit limit. And the amount owed on it is roughly $4,900. How do I go about filing the identity theft report on the account?

 

Thanks for the help, I greatly appeciate it.

@barbiern - if you call customer service and tell them you are a victim of identity theft, they may have a report for you to fill out.  They may ask you if you have a police report.  You can file a police report, but many police precincts won't do one, especially in this case.  I'd call your local police headquarters to see if they will take one.  You don't have to tell them your wife is deceased. 

 

In the absence of a pre-made identity theft report for you to fill out, you can prepare a notarized statement which states you were a victim of identity theft, give the details.  Is Florida a community property state?

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As for a police report, it depends on the department and state. I do not know about Florida, but I know in Minnesota, the police department having local juridstiction over the community where you reside is REQUIRED to fill out a report on Identity Theft according to state law. Please do some research on that in Florida

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I know that a lot of police precincts won't take a report unless there is evidence, or you assert, that the crime took place in your jurisdiction.  But I believe they may be required to take the report "for the record" if you don't know where the crime took place.  But like so many things we see here, it just depends on how they do it in each jurisdiction.

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Without a power of attorney then she could not legally sign your name to a contract.. An argument can be made that once the spouse knows about the contract, then if they do not do anything, then they are essentially ratifying the agreement by their inaction and acquiescence. The other party will have relied in good faith to their detriment if the contract is allowed to be broken. You are doing the right thing by challenging them you have taken away their acquiescence argument. 

 

Signing someone elses name without POA is forgery, and can also be bank fraud, depending on the circumstance. In some state this falls under conversion.

 

What you need to do is file a suit and ask the court to void the contract.

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@BTO429 - I doubt that she signed his name.  She probably applied for the card online.  Would be interesting to see just how she did it though.  The OP didn't say when the account was opened.  

There is still room to argue that you yourself did not authorize nor did you give her permission to fill out an online application in your name. Spouses know each other vital information and can easily fill out applications in the others names. It will depend on how convincing you are to the court, if the court accepts your testimony the court can void a contract at any time it sees fit. You could also argue that since it was not you the contract is void ab initio (from the beginning)

 

The illegality of the conduct itself, or the revelation of the real facts makes the entire situation illegal ab initio (from the beginning), not just from the time the wrongful behavior occurs.

 

Void ab initio, While it sounds complicated, it has a fairly straightforward meaning, a plaintiff or defendant  might argue that a contract is void ab initio for a reason such as forgery, duress, or undue influence. This would prevent the contract from being executed (since the courts would treat the contract as if it did not exist).

 

You must distinguish void ab initio from voidable. A contract is voidable if there are flaws in it that give good reason to declare the contract invalid. These flaws may arise at any time during the life of the contract, and the parties may fix the contract in a number of ways, such as by acting as if it exists. A document that is void ab initio is treated as if it never existed in the first place.

 

A party may be said to be a trespasser, or an officious intermeddler,(a volunteer who assists and/or benefits another without contractual responsibility or legal duty to do so, but nevertheless wants compensation for his/her actions). If you accept the benefit, and the person who gave it to you expected to be paid, you should pay them. If you dis not accept it, or ask for the goods or service,  the person giving it to you has become an Officious Intermeddler, which means they gave something to you that you didn’t want, and so you shouldn’t have to pay for it.

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