Can I get into legal trouble for using my late son’s debit card?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I get into legal trouble for using my late son’s debit card?

My son past away a couple months ago. We were close so I have his debit card and know his PIN. He didn’t own anything so it seems quite tedious to apply for executor ship.

Asked on January 27, 2017 under Estate Planning, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You are not him and are not legally entitled to his assets until his estate is probated: using his debit card after he has passed away is a criminal act (actually, it's potentially several crimes: identity theft; bank fraud; theft [since until and unless you inherit the money after probate, it does not belong to you]). You could theoretically face felony charges (more than a year in jail) depending on the amount of money involved.

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