Tuesday, November 30, 2010

FTC: Possible New Debt Collection Rules

From what I gather from reading this news article, new FTC policies may make it possible for Debt Collectors of the deceased to contact not just family to collect debt, but also friends. Apparently if my friend dies, I would have a "moral obligation" to pay their debt.

I'm just curious, who's morals are we going by? As a Christian, I can say with a large degree of certainty (100% certainty) that nothing within the Bible says that I have to pay either my family's or my friend's debt after they die. In the realms of Objectivism, again, I have no moral obligation to pay anyone's debt after they have died.

The only method debt collectors should legally have to collecting someone's debt after they die is through that person's estate. Basically, any money they can get from selling that person's stuff. In the case of a widow or widower, the debt which is in their name as well can be transfered to the surviving spouse, but only so far as that.

Acording to tfgi:

Inheriting debt is pretty much impossible but there are exceptions to this statement. You will pass on debt if your kids:
Are cosigners for a loan.
Have a joint bank account with you.
Is listed on the credit card
Is listed on mortgages
Is listed on auto loans

It goes on to say:

One of the ways to incur a parent’s debt is by assuming the payment of their bills. This is not to say that you should not help the parents out but you need to do so in such a way that creditors will not mistake the child as assuming the parent’s debt.
Deposit money in the parent’s account and have them fill out the checks this way there will be no mistake.
So, while incurring a parent’s debt is virtually impossible, it can still happen even unintentionally. Parents should take all necessary precautions to insure that the debt is not passed on to loved ones.

Apparently, even though you can't take it with you when you go, it is possible for debt collectors to try and get the people you've left behind to pay it for you.

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