Do we pay these bills or how does this work? 19 Answers as of October 11, 2013

My mother has died. My brother and I live in her house and the house is willed to us. We do not plan to sell for awhile but continue living in the house. She has medical bills.

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Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
Normally, a deceased person's medical bills are paid from probate assets, the health provider becomes a creditor of the estate. In this case, it sounds like the house will need to be probate in order to transfer to you and your brother and therefore when that happens, the bills will become bills of the estate. More information is probably needed to properly answer this question, you should talk to a probate attorney that can evaluate the facts and properly advise you. Please let me know if I can be of assistance.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 10/11/2013
Law Office of William Stoddard | William Stoddard
Did she have any resources? Her bills only have to be paid if she has money to pay them. But you do not have to pay them. I presume the house is still on mortgage. You must pay the the mortgage to keep it unless she was carrying insurance on it to pay the mortgage off on her death. You say your are to get the house, this suggests there was a will. It must be presented to the court to get it transferred into your name. If there was equity in the property, the bill people might sue her estate and attach the property to be paid. But if the house had little equity, you can tell the creditors you will not pay them as she died nearly penniless. No creditor will attach household goods only. But you may have to sell the house if there is equity and you cannot negotiate the bills. Her estate still has responsibility to pay her bills if it can.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 10/10/2013
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
Her estate is responsible for the bills. You may need to do a probate to get the home transferred into your names, or you will not be able to sell it when you decide to.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/9/2013
Gottlieb & Goren, P.C.
Gottlieb & Goren, P.C. | Aaron W. Goren
If the house passes to you under a Will, you have to probate the Will to pass title to you and your brother. In those proceedings, creditors would be entitled to notice to file a claim. You can then negotiate settlements with her creditors, since there's no cash to pay them.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/9/2013
The Law Office of David L. Leon
The Law Office of David L. Leon | David L. Leon
You need to probate the will and do a set aside.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 10/9/2013
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    Has the will been offered to probate? If a probate has been opened, the attorney handling it for you will give notice to creditors, and you will have to pay only if they file a claim within a certain time. It sounds as if probate is necessary in order to pass title.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/8/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    You need to file a probate estate for your mother. Gather up all of her assets and notify creditors that she has died. They will make claims against the estate. If there are insufficient assets to pay her bills, you will either have to sell the house or arrange to borrow against the equity for the bills to be paid.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 10/8/2013
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    You are not personally liable for the medical bills, but the creditors have the right to make a claim against your mother's estate for repayment.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 10/8/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Her estate should pay the bills. If she had nothing other than the home to leave you, then you should open probate to transfer the house to your name, notice the creditors, and work things out with them. That is, in my opinion, the right thing to do. Do I think you could avoid paying those bills if you're willing to push the creditors probably.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/8/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    Has the house gone through probate? If not, then you need to open a probate estate, in order to get title in your names. You will then be able to deal with the creditors. You may be able to negotiate on the balance of the debt, because there do not appear to be liquid assets to pay it.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/8/2013
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    I am sorry for your loss. Your mother's estate is responsible for paying the medical bills. If she left any cash, you should use it to pay down the bills. If she only left the house, you may have to sell it or take a loan to pay the bills off. As for the house, you and your brother are going to have to file probate and go through probate in order to be able to transfer the title of the house into you and your brother's names. I am available to assist you when you are ready to file probate. If you do not file probate, you will not be able to sell the property or obtain a loan to pay off the outstanding medical bills.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/8/2013
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    The house is part of your mother's estate. Creditors have the right to make claims against the estate. If there are insufficient assets to pay those claims, it is possible that the house would be sold to pay those bills regardless of the specific devise in your mother's will. Creditor's claims, taxes and administrative costs of probate all take precedence over the distribution of assets to devisees.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/8/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    You are not obligated to pay your end of bills of your mother, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise; however her estate is liable for any remaining bills. You should open a probate, give notice to creditor, and when they make a claim to be paid, negotiate the bill down. Obtain the assistance of a probate lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/8/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    If there is not enough cash to pay the creditors, you must either sell the house or come up with the cash to pay the creditors yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/8/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    Technically the house can be used to pay the bills if the creditor's pursue them and you don't pay them by other means. Speak with a probate attorney to discuss your options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/8/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    You will need to open probate to deal with the real estate. Contact an attorney who specializes in estate matters immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/8/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Your mother's estate is responsible for paying all of her debts, including medical bills. If there are insufficient assets in the estate to cover all of the bills, it may be necessary to sell the house and use the proceeds to pay off any remaining debts. All debts, including taxes, must be paid before the heirs are entitled to receive anything.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 10/8/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    The will is not effective unless it is in probate court. Probate allows for the assets of the decedent to be transferred to the proper parties. It also allows for any debt owed by decedent to be paid out of the decedent's monies. If the decedent did not have money to cover the debts, the debtor will have to write the debts off. So it is best if you see an attorney for this.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/8/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    You need to open a pronate to administer the Estate. I suggest you meet with an attorney to address the necessary steps and consider retaining counsel. This information is only intended to give general information in response to an inquiry. It does not establish an attorney client relationship. This response is only based upon the limited facts presented and is merely intended to assist you in determining if you should contact an attorney to provide you with legal advice.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/8/2013
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