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Ask Mint Money | No, you needn’t pay your in-laws’ debts

Ask Mint Money | No, you needn’t pay your in-laws’ debts
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First Published: Mon, Dec 07 2009. 10 08 PM IST

Updated: Mon, Dec 07 2009. 10 08 PM IST
My wife’s father died due to a heart attack recently. We got to know that he had a credit card debt of Rs3 lakh. Will my wife or I have to clear his dues? His credit card provided him a personal accident insurance. Will that cover a cardiac arrest?
Sanjay Malhotra
Sanjay, your wife will need to bear the expenses only under certain circumstances. Before we get into that, let’s analyze the situation for you. The Rs3 lakh credit card debt will most likely be recovered by liquidating your father-in-law’s property and other assets. However, if you know for sure he did not own any, including anything he might have left behind in his Will, then all you need to do is submit a copy of the death certificate along with a formal letter to the creditors asserting that no property or asset owned by your father-in-law is in existence now. But before you send the formal communication to the credit card company, make sure that there are no joint accounts, no co-ownership of assets and policy inclusions. If you or your wife share a joint account with him, co-own a property or have him as a dependant in your health insurance policy, then either or both of you will be held accountable for the dues. A cardiac arrest may not qualify under a personal accident cover. But, if there is an insurance rider in his primary insurance policy making allowances for such a mishap, it might be relevant and help you close the debt.
I have a HSBC Gold credit card. The bank has reduced my credit limit without notice and I am not sure why. The call centre is unable to give me any explanation. I have rarely maximized my credit limit. Could this be the reason?
Rakesh Sinha
I am not sure whether you mean cash limit or credit limit. In recent times, there has been a mass reduction in cash limits for most credit card customers across companies. This is more of banks’ measure to cut down on losses and increase existing fund flow and not specific to you. If it is a credit limit cut (a cut on how much you can spend through card transactions), then scan all your credit card bills carefully to see if there is something amiss like a card transaction or a pending payment that you are not aware of. These trigger an automatic safety measure within the bank’s system. If you are always careful about maximizing your credit limit, it may also help to check whether any fraudulent payments were made through your credit card, especially in view of increasing Internet fraud
Also, credit card companies are permitted to cut down on credit limit and this is specified in their terms and conditions.
Aadhil Shetty is the founder and CEO of Bank Bazaar
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First Published: Mon, Dec 07 2009. 10 08 PM IST