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Debt After Death: Banks Chase Down Mourners

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Nobody wants to remember a deceased family member by the debt they left behind, but many creditors certainly make it difficult to forget.

Denise Townley was appalled when she received a letter from her mother’s credit card issuer less than two weeks after her mother passed away.

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“We have recently learned that [your mother], a valued Discover Card customer, has passed away. Please accept our sincere apologies,” stated the letter from Discover, which Townley sent to CNNMoney.

It then offered her or another family member the “opportunity” to assume the balance on her mother’s credit card and offered a special introductory APR of 0% for the first six months (the APR would increase to 13.24% after that). If Townley wasn’t interested in taking over the account, then the bank wished to discuss how the estate planned to pay off her mother’s credit card balance.

Confused and concerned that she was on the hook for her mother’s debt, Townley called Discover. When she asked a probate specialist there how they knew her mother had passed away, she was told that Social Security furnished the information.

http://money.cnn.com…k.net&hpt=hp_c2

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