My father is a cosigner on my brothers credit cards. He passed away last month. My brother is not paying off the debt. Can we remove my fathers name? Is my dads estate responsible? My brother owes more than the estate is worth. My mom will be left destitute if the credit companies go after the estate.

  • 8
    We need to know which jurisdiction you are in. The other complication is what type of state it is for community property.
    – zeta-band
    Aug 31, 2016 at 16:24
  • 4
    I wouldn't contact the credit card company at all.
    – Pieter B
    Sep 1, 2016 at 6:54
  • 30
    Find a lawyer yesterday Sep 1, 2016 at 8:10
  • 1
    @HankyPanky or find a baseball bat to get the brother in line.
    – Lan
    Sep 1, 2016 at 18:30
  • 4
    Condolences here for your father to you and your family.
    – JonH
    Sep 1, 2016 at 19:17

3 Answers 3


Well, we need to know a lot more info, since where your mom lives will have an impact on what assets are at risk, but the general answer is yes, the assets of the estate are at risk, since your dad was 100% responsible for the debt. (This is what being a co-signer means.)

Removing his name from it would require the agreement of the card issuers and given that the debt isn't being serviced, I would be thunderstruck if they would agree to that.

You need legal representation immediately.

  • If this is a community property state, your mother could be liable for the debt, but it also depends on whether the debt or the marriage came first. nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/credit-card-debt-death.html and nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/… But you really should consult a lawyer.
    – shoover
    Sep 1, 2016 at 16:05
  • It does matter often if the spouse was a spouse at the time the card was opened, and if she also was a cosigner/authorized user on her husbands card. I have seen cases where a spouse was not immediately and personally liable on a debt she did not incur, however the estate is most likely still liable. Sep 1, 2016 at 16:35
  • There is no way that the card companies will keep my brother alone because he doesn't pay his bills or only pays the minimum. Sep 1, 2016 at 23:45

If your mother is now the owner of all assets and obligations of your father, she may be able to cancel the card.

This does not deal with the damage that has already been done, but could limit the risk of building up more debt.

  • 8
    This is another thing to get advice on, and the advice needs to be specific to the jurisdiction. It's conceivable that the father('s estate) is in any case only co-signer for debts incurred up to his death, and/or that the obligation of being co-signer can't be inherited by the mother. Agreed it's right to communicate that she is not willing to co-sign. Sep 1, 2016 at 12:25
  • A useful comment but this doesn't really attempt to answer the question.
    – Lilienthal
    Sep 1, 2016 at 13:56
  • 1
    Oh, and it's probably the executor, if there is one, who should be looking to stop co-signing new debt (presumably resulting in the lender cancelling the card, unless they decide they don't need a co-signer any more). But the executor's legal advisor and/or the lender can tell them how things stand. Sep 1, 2016 at 21:02
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    Is my brother allowed to keep using the credit cards even though the cosigner is deceased? Sep 1, 2016 at 23:46
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    @Nursefun1952 60000$ is not limit !!??????
    – Lan
    Sep 2, 2016 at 9:15

Many credit cards have insurance premiums or options for the case of the individual being unable to pay the debt due to disability or death. Depending on the card and the options selected, it is possible that with the death of the cosigner that the insurance (if any) could cover the outstanding debt.

It is not likely and as Pieter B commented on OP's original post, contacting the credit card company is a risky move.

  • No insurance on the cards. Sep 1, 2016 at 23:47

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