Dear Harry:

My husband passed away early this year leaving me with two daughters under 10. He had no will. He had only three assets; a car in his name alone, a 401(k) plan and the house which we owned jointly. The car was transferred to my name as was the house. The 401(k) was transferred to my IRA by the plan administrator. I paid for his funeral expenses. He also had credit cards in his name alone. I never used them or sent checks in payment of the monthly amounts due. My employer has a free legal service which I used to find out where I stand. They're not located in Pennsylvania, so I felt a little uneasy with their advice. I was told that since the estate didn't even cover the funeral costs, I was home free and did not have to pay the credit-card debt. The banks contacted me to convince me that I am liable on these accounts. I sent them a copy of the death certificate and explained that he left no estate. That did not stop the calls. How do I get them off my back?

What Harry says: The 401(k) is also out of their reach. To get them to stop, the first step is to send them a letter telling them to stop. If that doesn't do it, contact ACA International (Box 390106, Minneapolis, MN 55439 or at 952- 926-9547), which is a trade group that helps to resolve this type of problem. You can also contact the Federal Trade Commission. The best way to do this is through your congressman. *

Write Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, Box 7788, Philadelphia, PA 19101. Harry urges all his readers to give blood - contact the American Red Cross at 800-GIVE LIFE.