Unless you come from an obscenely rich family, one of the first things you find out when you hit adulthood is that your future might depend on your willingness to take on debt. Do you want to go to college? You'll probably need a loan for that. Need a car? That's going to require a loan. Ready to put down some roots and settle in a permanent place of your own? Unless your name is Mr. or Ms. Money Bags, get ready to borrow.
And the fact that borrowing is a part of adulthood isn't even the bad news. If you were paying attention as a child, you saw that one coming. The bad news is that your car, education, and house are only the tip of the debt iceberg. Beneath the sea is a whole other landmass of ways the world wants to keep you in the red.
Creditors Will Try To Convince You To Inherit Your Dead Relative's Debt
Imagine it's only been a week or so since your parents died in a tragic white-whale-hunting accident. In the middle of making funeral arrangements and divvying up the good jewelry, you start getting calls from a debt collector. It turns out your father ran up a huge debt by stockpiling hundreds of harpoons, and these guys want to know how you intend to pay everything off.
"Wait a minute," you're saying. "I don't have to pay my parents' debts!" And you'd be right. But if you think that's going to stop debt collectors, we admire your optimism.
One Omaha, Nebraska, woman named Linda Long found herself getting calls from a collection agency on behalf of Bank of America shortly after her husband passed away. The caller explained that she was not legally obligated to pay her husband's credit card debt, but then turned around and recommended that she "get this taken off [her] plate." And the debt collector wasn't talking about spaghetti.
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"We're already too big to fail, but if you could help us get even bigger, that would be great."
Since FTC guidelines require that debt collectors tell people when they don't have to pay a debt, creditors and their minions might tell mourners they have a "moral obligation" to make things right before presenting them with the "opportunity" to assume the debt of the deceased. As if the grieving person on the other end of the call won the opposite of the lottery. Additional prizes include constant robocalls -- sometimes up to 48 per day -- reminding the family members that corporate yachts don't buy themselves.