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Elderly parents

elderly parents credit card balance they will never be able to clear

14 replies

redundant · 04/06/2013 12:12

hi there, hoping someone out there will have some knowledge of how the credit card companies work and might be able to advise.

My very elderly parents have a 7k credit card debt - only recently discovered it but I think they've had it for about 20 years - they took a sum of money out when they moved house when they retired.

They are only (and have always only ever) paid the minimum repayment each month (currently about £160 of which £130 is interest).

It's not a debt as they are repaying but they are only repaying by using benefits that should be used for something else - ie my dad's attendance allowance that should be paying for a carer. So it is affecting their quality of life, causing them (well, my mum - my dad has dementia and is unaware) stress.

What if anything could i reasonably expect the credit card co to do? They will never repay the balance before they die (in which case the balance would presumably be written off) so is it in the credit card companies interests for us to make them an offer to pay it off at a reduced rate??

anyone been through similar? Also posted in money matters section. i rang a couple of advice lines and tbh they were useless because it's not yet a debt. thank so much in advance.

OP posts:
ItsAllGoingToBeFine · 04/06/2013 12:28

Presumably when they die the card company will take the money from your parents assets?

GwennieF · 04/06/2013 12:34

It might be worth ringing the CC company to see if they can do something - £160 is a lot to be losing out of a low income every month. Or maybe the Money Advisory Service could offer some advice?

redundant · 04/06/2013 14:03

thanks all, appreciate you replying. I don't know if it would be taken from their assets once they die, just need to stop them paying 160 a month whilst they're alive that they can't afford. I will call the money advice service and see if any advice.

OP posts:
devonsmummy · 04/06/2013 14:16

Can you get them to switch to a card with 0% interest ?
That should save them a large sum

redundant · 04/06/2013 14:33

i thought about that but no one will let them open a new account/switch because of their financial situation. But thanks.

I've just rung the CC and they're fairly unpleasant to deal with. I will have to toughen up!

OP posts:
Needmoresleep · 04/06/2013 15:57

Worth asking Age UK?

NatashaBee · 04/06/2013 16:03

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine · 04/06/2013 16:09

Could you afford to pay it off in full for them and they could then repay you instead of the CC company and avoid all the horrendous interest charges?

iheartdusty · 04/06/2013 16:13

try stepchange money advice charity.

there is no need to be paying fees to a debt management company like Payplan.

webwiz · 04/06/2013 16:50

Payplan don't charge any fees iheartdusty.

Try the CAB if you want some face to face advice or payplan if you just want to deal with it over the phone.

NorthernLurker · 04/06/2013 16:58

I think the easiest way would be for you or another relative to pay it off and then have your parents repay you. Is that a possibility? Obviously that would only work if you could afford to do it and either lose the money if they die before paying you OR there is inheritance which will pay it off.
GIven your parents sad circumstances and the length of time they;ve had the debt you could try appealing to the companies better nature for some compassion?

JakeBullet · 04/06/2013 17:07

My parents are n a similar situation with debts, all started when Dad had a serious accident and could no longer work. Both are in their late 60s and Dad is increasingly unwell and forgetful.

I wrote to the credit card companies in the end and told them not to make any further contact with my parents but to liaise with me, Mum had to give them permission for this. I explained in the letter that my Dad was ill and my Mum could not cope with that and the stress all the phone calls about late payments was causing. To be fair to the CC company in question they have been very okay, Mum now pays them a reduced amount if £40 a month, it will never be clear.

I can also echo StepChange which has been linked to further down. Used to be called CCCS and are a charity which deal with debt issues. If it is just one debt though, they generally can't support, it's usually multiple debts.

Also second the CAB.

If your Mum gets AA for supporting your Dad then it should not be swallowed by by the CC company.
Put everything in writing to them, do an income and expenditure form with your Mum and see what is left over once all essential bills are paid....that's everything, food, rent/mortgage, council tax, TV Licence, electricity, gas, water plus any social/extras. Then make them an offer in writing, they may not accept it but just keep paying it, eventually they will accept it.

redundant · 05/06/2013 10:25

thank you everyone for all your help and advice, has been really useful.

We could borrow money on our mortgage and use that to pay it off for them, and that is an option, but i'd prefer to investigate other ways to make it manageable first.

First challenge is getting authorisation for them to speak to me, which seems to be an uphill struggle, but they are now sending out a form for my mum to fill in and return. Hopefully once that's in place I can put a proposal to them.

I have done a budget and without the benefits they receive there is no way they could pay the minimum each month as they are doing. My dad is 91 and reaching the point where his care is too much for my mum (who is 80) so she really needs to be spending his attendance allowance on getting some outside carers/help to come in, to take some of the burden of her. Plus his state pension is much higher than hers - if and when he dies her income will be significantly less and then there really would be no way of paying it.

thanks everyone x

OP posts:
glastocat · 05/06/2013 10:27

When my dad died he had two credit cards with small amounts on each. He had payment insurance on one card so it was paid off when he died, the balance on the other was taken out of his estate.

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