My father recently passed away, leaving my disabled mother on her own. She is unable to manage her household affairs, so I will be doing so until I can secure a stable arrangement for her care.

I would like to know if it is allowed/wise to use their credit card to pay for the expenses I will be incurring, e.g. for the cremation and lawyer fees and then for expenses I'll be incurring for my mom's care (e.g. picking up prescriptions, caretaker services), or is it better to pay for everything myself and reimburse myself from my mother's bank account.

I live in the United States.

My thanks

EDIT: I should clarify that I am not doing anything with my mother's accounts before running it by her, it's just that she physically is unable to use a computer much less write a check (MS). I have access to it only for the sake of paying her bills. So what I mean by reimburse myself is to save my receipts and have her approve a check from her to me.

  • If your mother can pay for it out of her bank account, why use a credit card?
    – D Stanley
    Apr 9, 2020 at 3:43
  • because I have to provide payment at point-of-sale, e.g. at the pharmacy, so it's either my credit card or hers. Thanks!
    – Duke Leto
    Apr 9, 2020 at 3:57
  • 2
    I believe technically (credit card contract?) only a card holder is supposed to user their credit card. Given that the expenses are for the estate/her benefit, all of those expenses should be reimbursed either directly from her accounts or paid to you for her expenses. For estate expenses, that should go through probate (if required). Really it depends on who might object (siblings or other family members), but realistically it is about what happens when the sales clerk asks for identification. Apr 9, 2020 at 4:14
  • 1
    I doubt that it is legal to use their credit card. How will you reimburse yourself from your mother's bank account? Is it a joint account (with you)? If you already have a joint account, they get new cards issued in your name. Otherwise, how competent is your mother? Can she add you to her account now? If her competence is questionable, then you should see an attorney.
    – Mattman944
    Apr 9, 2020 at 9:05
  • Thanks for pointing out the incoherence in my question; I've edited it. My thanks!
    – Duke Leto
    Apr 10, 2020 at 9:02

1 Answer 1


It would probably be contrary to the terms of service of your mother's credit card for you to use it, although if you have her permission it's not illegal. However it is probably unnecessary.

If your mother is OK with paying for lawyer and funeral expenses, then it would be a simple matter for you to pay them with your credit card and have your mother reimburse you for the amount.

You talk about "reimburs[ing] myself from my mother's bank account", which implies that you have access to your mother's bank account. I strongly recommend you get her written formal permission to say that you can do this - if you don't there may be trouble further down the line. The best way to do this is to get a power of attorney from her.

If your mother is not mentally competent to manage her own affairs you can get a power of attorney to act on her behalf on the basis of a doctor declaring her incompetent.

  • ah thank you for that, I edited my question to clarify, I can see how that could be taken wrong.
    – Duke Leto
    Apr 10, 2020 at 9:01

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