Creditors and Bankruptcy/Senior Citizens and Debt

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Question
Not sure if you will be able to help with this question as it pertains to a person living in Canada however my question is as follows:  I am wondering what the consequences would be for a very old person (actually quite ill and nearing death) who has amassed a substantial credit card and line of credit debt (in the vicinity of twenty thousand dollars).  This debt is almost equivalent to their annual pension income and their annual pension income is almost totally required to cover their living expenses. In other words they do not have the means to pay this money back.  The balances of these accounts consistently exceeds their credit limits and the payments being made on each account are consistently less than the minimum payments requested.  The payments are often late as well.  Despite this the creditors have not cancelled the accounts and as far as I know this situation has been ongoing for the last four years and perhaps even longer.  I do not know if anything was used to secure these loans or if there is a cosigner.  I am assuming not as this person has nothing of value to secure the loans and I am assuming if there is a cosigner they would have been contacted by now.  As this person is now hospitalized, following up on bill payments has now apparently fallen on the very few family members left that have kept in touch with this person.  The closest family member lives far away, I live closer (but not in the same city) but have a less close relationship to the person.  The two of us are trying to determine whether there is a power of attorney in place and if not trying to get one set up.  We have only recently unearthed this situation.In the meantime we were just going to continue making the very minimal payments that were being made in the past, not use the cards to pay for anything else and ignore the other bills.  It will be months before we can even get the credit accounts down to their actual limits and it will be at least two months before some of the other outstanding bills can be paid.  This person will most likely die owing a lot of money and have nothing in their estate to cover much of it.  Can you give me any advice re the consequences to this senior person and to the two of us dealing with the situation.  Should we even try to get a power of attorney?  I want to help this person out as much as possible but in no way whatsoever do I wish to be held accountable for their debt.

Answer
Leon Bayer
Leon Bayer  
Dear Sharon,

This is a very good question.

Don't waste your money trying to pay anything on this person's debts. Being over the limit has already ruined the credit. In a situation like this, the creditors simply won't get paid. There is absolutely nothing you need to do about the debts. Family members have no legal responsibility to pay.

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Creditors and Bankruptcy

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Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney Leon Bayer

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I can answer all questions relating to debt collection, credit reporting problems, credit scores, bankruptcy, debt settlements, debt settlement scams, and dealing with debt collectors. For many years I have been one of your volunteer experts for the topic "Bankruptcy Law". I would like to receive more questions. I'm thinking that many relevant questions get asked under this catagory as well as my own. See my stats, below: Los Angeles Bankruptcy Lawyer Leon D. Bayer U.S. Available View Profile Ask A Question View Past Answers Knowledgeability9.96 Clarity of Response9.93 Politeness9.97 Response Time(hr)14.6 --Last 90 Days(hr)7.6 Total Questions1119

Experience

34 years as a practicing bankruptcy attorney, published book author on topics of bankruptcy and foreclosure. See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_D._Bayer

Publications
See, http://www.nolo.com/law-authors/leon-bayer.html

Education/Credentials
BA degree, J.D., admitted to California Bar in 1979.

Awards and Honors
President, 1995-1996-Los Angeles Bankruptcy Forum; Member - Los Angeles County Bar Association Committee on Commercial Law & Bankruptcy, 1988. Law Advisory Commission-Personal & Small Business Bankruptcy Law of the State Bar of California, 1996-2000

Past/Present Clients
Over 15,000 bankruptcy cases.

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