Should my 81-year-old mom ask for the credit card company to forgive her debt?

0 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mom is 81 years old living in NYC with declining health over the years. She owns nothing, rents her apt, receives a small pension and SS benefits...and owes $16K on a MasterCard bill that she can no longer afford to pay even the minimum payment on. She will never be able to pay this off. It has been suggested by a few sources that she just stop paying the bill, or that she stop paying it AND send them a letter asking them to forgive the debt. Since she has nothing for them to get if she is sued is this solution "safe" for her. And do you suggest writing the letter, or just stop paying and no other contact? Whatever very little savings she does have comes from monetary gifts from family and a health reimbursement account set up by her former employer in place of them no longer covering her in their group health insurance plan. Would/could a credit card company be able to take anything from her? Do you know if she would be responsible to pay taxes on forgiven debt, is it worth contacting an accountant? My mom does not like this idea, but I see no other way out for her...the stress of the payment and lack of funds for necessary items like food, drugs and medical care is too much. She has a few smaller bills we can try to pay each month, but this one big nut is really causing havoc. Any personal experiences with taking this route would be appreciated...I don't feel good about this either, but we really are out of options, none of her children can afford to help me its payment of this debt. Thanks!