All assets and debts are handled in accordance with state probate laws. All non-exempt assets are used to pay the deceased's debts according to their priority, credit card accounts and other unsecured debts are considered of low priority. The deceased's family members are NOT responsible for paying the debts, the exception is a surviving spouse if the couple resided in a community property state. If there was a will, no property will be distributed to named heirs until debts have been satisfied, if there was not a will the state's intestate laws will apply.
The estate covers the bill. If the spouse is still alive, he/she will probably have to cover the bill with the proceeds of the estate. If there aren't enough assets to cover the debt, and the credit account was not joint with anyone else, the credit card company will have to pay it out of their own pocket. Credit card companies cannot force the family to pay the debt. == ==
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