The New York Times recently reported about debt collectors calling bereaved family members to ask for repayment of debts of the deceased.
"The banks need another bailout and countless homeowners cannot handle their mortgage payments, but one group is paying its bills: the dead.
Dozens of specially trained agents work on the third floor of DCM Services here, calling up the dear departed’s next of kin and kindly asking if they want to settle the balance on a credit card or bank loan, or perhaps make that final utility bill or cellphone payment."
You can read the complete article at the New York Times website.
Just because you have been asked to pay a deceased relative's debt doesn't necessarily mean that you have a legal liability to pay the debt. To get help determining whether you have to pay the debt, consult your family's attorney or the Missouri Attorney General's office - Consumer Protection Division.