Feds propose new rules on debt collection from the deceased

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FTC logo

The Federal Trade Commission wants to update the rules on how debts from the deceased are collected, after some states allowed other people besides spouses to pay creditors.

The amended policy statement is designed to clarify circumstances under which the FTC will take action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the FTC Act against companies trying to collect debts from deceased consumers.

The proposed policy statement explains how the FTC will enforce federal law regarding:

  • Whom debt collectors are allowed to contact to discuss a decedent's debt.

  • How collectors can contact and identify the right party to discuss a decedent's debt.

  • How collectors should avoid giving relatives the misleading impression they are personally obligated to pay the debt from their own assets, rather than from the decedent's estate.