Can the credit union pay off my deceased mother’s credit card without my authorization?

UPDATED: Aug 24, 2012

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Can the credit union pay off my deceased mother’s credit card without my authorization?

I am joint owner on my deceased mother’s cheking and savings accouts but not a joint owner or authorized user of the credit card issued by the same financial institution. I received a phone call from their decedant accounts rep who acknowledged me as joint owner but then also mentioned the credit card. I specifically corrected him on that. He said he was sending a form for me to complete so I could transfer the funds to my own account (I am a member with a separate account) an to provide death certificate. In the interim, credit union transferred funds out of her account and paid off the credit card without my authorization.

Asked on August 24, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Maryland


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states as well as federal law, for a credit union to unilaterally transfer funds from a customer's bank account to pay off a debt on a credit card is not allowed unless there is an express written agreement signed by the account owner to do so.

Given the death of your mother, her authority to allow such transfer ended upon her death assuming she signed a document allowing such. You are designated as the joint owner and never agreed to such. I suggest that you have a meeting face to face with the bank's manager to resolve what transpired.

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