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Old 01-12-2013, 02:14 PM   #1
IluvKingLouis
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Please I need help concerning Credit Cards

My husband and I are taking care of my 75 year old mother. She lives in a house we own and is paying nominal rent (way under market) and we help her out with bills now and then.

She sold the house she and dad (now deceased) lived in to use those proceeds as a nice cushion (probably 100-150K). It's all gone, and I have learned she has a gambling problem. Something that kicked in recently.

I'm still doing my best to keep a roof over her head, but I just learned she put me on several credit cards. I know she did this years ago (before the problem kicked in) so that is she was ill, I could run errands for her.

I never signed anything and thought I was just OK'd as a signer. I just learned she has me on the account. I'm mystified as to how I could end up on an account without filling out paper work. And I learned that she is actively using her CC's. I grew up learning to use them just in an emergency and paying them off right a way.

I'm now terrified that I'm going to be stuck with this burden even though I never signed up for this.

Is this possible? I have a few credit cards in my purse that are there strictly for emergencies and I never use them, so I don't know the ins and outs of this situation.

TIA.
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:19 PM   #2
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First I'd get those cards and call the issuing banks and find out what they think you signed up for.

I dont' think you can be liable for an account you didn't sign up for....and it doesn't affect your credit rating. My friend found this in reverse, when she divorced and after 25 years, had no credit in her name....she was a add-on to her husband's credit cards but they were not part of her credit history.

I know someone who co-signed a card for their adult child for emergencies, and to establish credit, and did get stuck with the bill for $10,000. They told the adult child to cancel that card, and they did......until 2 years later when the parent got ANOTHER debt collection agency call for the $8,000 they had run up since she paid the last bill. But she co-signed that card, which is different than what you're talking about, I believe.
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:21 PM   #3
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If you are just an authorized user you can not be held responsible for the cards. You wouldn't have had to sign for her to add you as an authorized user. You are correct you'd have had to sign the note/agreement to be a coborrower in order to be responsible for the card. You'll need to contact them to see what they have you as. If it is the latter ask to see where they show you signed for the responsibility of the debt. I hope it works out. Best of luck.
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:27 PM   #4
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If you are just an authorized user you can not be held responsible for the cards. You wouldn't have had to sign for her to add you as an authorized user. You are correct you'd have had to sign the note/agreement to be a coborrower in order to be responsible for the card. You'll need to contact them to see what they have you as. If it is the latter ask to see where they show you signed for the responsibility of the debt. I hope it works out. Best of luck.
This is true. But I do think you should pull your credit reports and be sure.
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Old 01-12-2013, 03:04 PM   #5
IluvKingLouis
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Thank you all for your responses. I really do appreciate it.

I got off the phone, and I'm not liable for any of the charges, nor does her account activity impact my credit rating. It's still very rattling, and I'm having to deal with the behavior of an addict which is very new to me.

She told me she had not been up to gamble in a very long time, but the account information tells me there has been multiple cash advances from the casinos. Ughhhh....it's so tough have a relationship with a parent fall apart so late in life.
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Old 01-12-2013, 04:02 PM   #6
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If the gambling kicked in recently, check with her doctor about new medications, a complete evaluation etc. Just to make sure there is nothing else going on.

One of my uncles had a significant personality change (not huge, but somewhat different). A check up revealed a medical condition that needed immediate treatment.

Good luck, it is hard to parent the parent.
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:36 PM   #7
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So sorry I know how it is to deal with an elderly parent
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:26 PM   #8
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Just to be safe, maybe you should have your name taken off all of her cards. They say your arent accountable now, but shady cc companies have been known to come after authorized signers when the account owners don't pay. And it can be an expensive hassle to fight.
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:20 PM   #9
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Just to be safe, maybe you should have your name taken off all of her cards. They say your arent accountable now, but shady cc companies have been known to come after authorized signers when the account owners don't pay. And it can be an expensive hassle to fight.
They can call and maybe ecen ask how to get ahold of the account holder, but its still not the person's responsibility.

Just keep tabs on your crediy report. You can pull all three at once or one at a time every four months. Many monitoring companies also allow you access to your credit report monthly or even daily. Creditboards.com is full of good information.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:53 AM   #10
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I agree with the suggestion to check on her medications. When my doctor prescribed Requip, and later replaced it with Mirapex, he warned me of the possibility of uncontrollable urges to gamble. I do gamble, but the urges aren't uncontrollable. One day at the casino, however, an elderly woman (about 80 y.o.) plopped down beside me, put her money in the slot machine and promptly declared "I'm taking Requip. It makes me gamble."

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Old 01-13-2013, 09:48 AM   #11
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She is on meds for COPD, but I believe that is all.

I am looking at buying her a small condo and covering the expenses. This is a time in my life when I'd much rather be putting money aside for DD's college and my retirement.

If I do do this, I'm going to ask that I handle her finances and she goes on an allowance. I know that sounds harsh, but I can't keep on doing this.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:39 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by IluvKingLouis View Post
She is on meds for COPD, but I believe that is all.

I am looking at buying her a small condo and covering the expenses. This is a time in my life when I'd much rather be putting money aside for DD's college and my retirement.

If I do do this, I'm going to ask that I handle her finances and she goes on an allowance. I know that sounds harsh, but I can't keep on doing this.
Make sure you get a lawyer involved to have all the proper paperwork for taking control. It'll cost a couple hundred to do it. She'll need to agree to it or you'll have to go before a judge to claim gaurdianship. Good luck.
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