Get Out of Debt Guy

My Dad Died Leaving Mom a Laptop Loan. - Nicole

Posted July 30, 2013

WRAL Reader Question

Dear Steve,

My dad took out a laptop loan in my moms name. He certified it over the phone and since the laptop has had it's share of problems. A few months ago he passed away.

Is the debt considered my moms and does she have any recourse with the company to reduce the payments or balance since she only makes $700 a month on disability?

Nicole

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Answer

Dear Nicole,

So sorry to hear about the loss of your father.

If your mother had no knowledge of the loan and was not aware her name was used without her permission she sounds like she's possibly a victim of identity theft.  Here is everything you need to know to deal with being an identity theft victim.

You should help her with this process immediately but if she has made payments on her own without reporting the identity theft then she might be out of luck.

Frankly it sounds like no matter what the underlying situation is there is no way she can afford to pay the loan. Since she appears to have no other assets and only lives on public benefits/Social Security, then besides suing your mother there is little that could happen to her besides being sued over the debt.

I'm more concerned about her overall financial situation at this point and if this laptop loan came as a surprise, I wonder what other surprises might be lingering. To get some indication if there are more obligations in her name so is not aware of I would suggest you go to AnnualCreditReport.com and help her get a copy of her credit reports for free and see what is out there under her name. 

Steve Rhode
WRAL Get Out of Debt Guy

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  • kbird Aug 2, 2013

    Your mother can apply for your father's social security and give hers up if his is worth more.

About this Blog:

Steve Rhode has had careers in opthalmology, real estate and as the head of a nonprofit debt counseling firm. On his blog, he offers hard-won, free advice about getting out of debt, consolidation and making the right choices as you manage your money.