Ask The Expert: A credit card company has turned my mother's account over to a collection agency and a lawyer. She has no assets. What are my options?

posted by: Ben A. Neiburger Elder Law Attorney

I would tell the collection company and the lawyer to go ahead and try to sue your insolvent mother. If she has no money, there is no way that they can hurt her. In addition, many states have laws that prevent creditors from levying on every penny a person has (including all the SSI pennies she is receiving). You should check with a lawyer to determine if your state has this type of law. If she is ill and cannot appear in court, it is likely that the court will issue what is called a default judgment. Then the creditor will try to collect against any assets she has.  Generally, if you tell them that mom is insolvent, they will stop chasing (or at least the lawyer will), since they are employed on a contingency fee basis. No recovery, no fee, no incentive to collect. However, if your mother has a house, they can lien the house.

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4/25/2013 3:19:48 PM

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Posted by:Marsue

4/22/2013 3:10:54 AM

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Posted by:Cindy

5/20/2010 8:44:16 AM

If someone has persuaded an elderly alzheimers diagnosed woman to be their power of attorney, not a family member, and has pulled all monies out of bank account, run up credit card and now planning on selling the only asset left, her home. How can the family intervene and get her away from him and maintain guardianship? This man needs to be charged!

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