Many times after the death of a spouse, the surviving spouse may decide to sell the couple’s home in order to scale down or begin some new memories with the purchase of a new home.
If there is to be a loan on the new purchase, personal events can affect credit. In the event of a spouse’s death, credit and debt issues may arise. Stabilizing your credit in the event of a death can be difficult, especially if your spouse held all the credit in his or her name. While resolving your financial affairs, keep in mind that credit accounts opened during marriage are automatically held jointly in California. Paying bills is critical. On-time bill payments during the next 18-24 months are important in order to maintain your credit. Even one late payment can affect your ability to get a new loan or credit card.
By law, a creditor cannot automatically close a joint account or change the terms because of the death of one spouse. Generally, the creditor will ask the survivor to file a new credit application in his or her own name. After reviewing the new information, the creditor will then decide to continue to extend credit or alter the credit limit. It’s a good idea to open a new credit card in the surviving spouse’s name only.