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Debts don’t just disappear when someone dies, and figuring out who’s responsible can take some effort, as I wrote in my latest MSN column, “Stuck with the departed’s debts?

But a Facebook fan pointed out that not all debt collection calls are based on a legitimate debt:

After my father died, my mother was contacted by someone falsely claiming he owed a medical bill, offering to process the payment over the phone. She knew it was false [because] she handled the bills, so she told them not to call again.

Survivors also should beware of calls from purported charities, claiming that the deceased promised them a donation of some kind.

When it comes to claims against an estate, you’ll want to see proof that the deceased owed the debt or made any kind of financial promise. Don’t take a caller’s word for it.

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