Am I responsible for my dead husband's hospital and doctor bills? 10 Answers as of May 30, 2013

My income has been cut in half and monthly bills are way over what I make at this time. Am i responsible for them and if I do not pay them what will this do to me? These are Hospital bills and Doctors.

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Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
Generally, either spouse is fully responsible for community debts. You may need to consult a bankruptcy attorney to assist you with the debts left by your husband's passing.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/30/2011
Ashman Law Office
Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
In Georgia (and it appears you posted on a Georgia site - the answer is different in some states), you are not personally liable for a spouse's debts unless you signed for them. However, before you can inherit from his estate his creditors must be paid from the estate.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 12/29/2011
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
First, if any property of your husband will go through probate (not jointly owned) then the probate estate should handle his debts. Second, if no probate, the answer is probably. As with any legal question, always best to have legal advice from a lawyer who represents you, and is looking out for your interests. The general rule in Oregon is that spouses are liable for expenses of the family, and these would generally include medical expenses. Also, in general if you inherit property you are liable for the decedent's debts to the extent of the value of what you inherited. That said, hospitals and medical providers will normally work with you. Some have deals with no-interest credit providers; others will reduce or write off their bills. The Oregon State Bar has a lawyer referral service. You can get referred to some estate lawyers who will meet with you for a consultation at a set fee.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 12/29/2011
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
It depends on if you signed as a responsible party. Additionally to the extent your father had assets that were given to you in the past few years or upon his death, you may be responsible to the extent of the gifts or inheritance. If you received no gifts, no inheritance and did not sign as a responsible party, then you should not be responsible. If you did, you should speak with an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 12/29/2011
Harville-Stein Law Offices, LLC
Harville-Stein Law Offices, LLC | Dean D. Stein
It depends on if you signed as"Guarantor" on these bills. If the paperwork was only in your deceased husbands name, and you did notsignhis admission or physician paperwork saying you would be responsible for his bills if he did not pay them, then the only recourse they should have is to file an claim against his estate, IF an estate is opened for your deceased husband. If no estate is open, then they will not be able to collect these bills. If you agree to pay the bills, or sign something now saying you will be responsible for them, or negotiate your paying the bills over time as if they were your responsibility, they mayhave you at that point for taking over his payment responsibilities.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 12/29/2011
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE).
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE). | Gary Lee Lane
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/30/2013
    Berkman,Henoch,Peterson,Peddy & Fenchel P.C.
    Berkman,Henoch,Peterson,Peddy & Fenchel P.C. | Rudolf Karvay
    The answer to your question is rather complicated. Generally, unless you are contractually obligated, a joint debtor or co-signor you are not responsible for your deceased husband's debts. If your husband died with assets (money or property), then his estate may be responsible for the debts. The executor or administrator of the estate will need to negotiate and pay your husband's debts to the extent that there are sufficient assets to pay. If your husband died with no assets, then the debts do not get paid. However, medical creditors may seek to hold you liable under the doctrine of "medical necessaries." In order to do so, a creditor must show that the services were rendered based upon your credit. In addition, the creditor must show that the amounts alleged to be owed are commensurate with your means. I suggest that you seek out the advice of an attorney for a more detailed examination of your particular circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    You are responsible only if you have agreed to pay them. Did you sign as a guarantor on these bills? If so, you are responsible. If not, you are not responsible. However, they can put liens on his property even if you are on the property titles.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    McCleary & Associates, PC
    McCleary & Associates, PC | David M. McCleary
    Only if you signed accepting that you would be responsible- if you are contacted you should tell the cooection agency that you have been advised you are not responsible and that if they believe you are that they should sent you what ever document they have where you accepted responsibility for the debt. If that does not stop them then you will need to hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/29/2011
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