Who is responsible for medical bills when a parent dies? 52 Answers as of June 22, 2012

Are the children of a parent who has died responsible for their medical bills? There is not a will, one falling apart home and property that the home is siting on that has not been divided.

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Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
The medical bills are the obligations of the estate, unless someone signed documents at the medical provider accepting that responsibility.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 6/22/2012
Evan Guthrie Law Firm
Evan Guthrie Law Firm | Evan Guthrie
Medical bills of the deceased are paid from the assets of their estate and must be paid before any assets can be distributed.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 6/22/2012
The Jordan Law Firm
The Jordan Law Firm | John Paul Jordan
The Estate is responsible. The property owned by your deceased parent probably needs to be sold and that money goes to pay off the debts accrued at the time of their death. There are statutes (laws) which state what takes prescedence such as funeral expenses and medical bills before credit cards. This would be something you may want to hire a good probate lawyer for.
Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 6/21/2012
Geoff Germane, Attorney at Law | Geoff Germane
The decedent's estate is responsible for the bills, to the extent there is any property left after family allowances and exemptions for different categories of property (such as $20,000 for a house). Absent an agreement to the contrary, the children have no responsibility for their parents' bills.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 6/20/2012
Barlow Flake LLP
Barlow Flake LLP | Jonathan W. Barlow
The short answer is that your parent's estate is responsible to pay the medical bills. Neither you nor any other person is responsible to pay your deceased parent's medical bills from your personal assets unless you made an agreement with the medical provider that you would be personally responsible for your parent's medical bills. This means that the assets of your parent's estate must be used to pay creditors, such as medical bills and credit cards, before any beneficiaries or heirs receive any property from the estate, even if your parent left a will designating you to receive their property. Creditors are not entitled to be paid anything beyond the value of the property in the estate. Family members should be careful when dealing with creditors after a loved one dies. In Nevada, creditors generally should not be paid until after a statutory notice period in which the creditor must file a claim with the court. If the creditor fails to file a claim within the statutory period, the creditor is not entitled to payment. However, in smaller estates in Nevada (worth less than $100,000), the statutory creditor period may not apply. Before paying any creditor, the family members would be greatly benefited by speaking with an experienced probate attorney who will be able to explain the process of providing for creditors after a loved one dies.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 6/20/2012
    Donna J Jackson, Attorney, PC | Donna J. Jackson
    In Oklahoma, the person's estate is responsible for the payment of final expenses, including medical bills. If a probate is filed, the creditor must file a claim in the estate by the presentment date, which is 2 months from the date of publication of notice of creditors. Normally, children are not responsible for the payment of parent's medical bills. It is important to remember to never sign anything as a responsible party of the parent. The parent should sign all agreements or the power of attorney should sign on behalf of the parent.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 6/20/2012
    Law Offices of Ward F. McDonough, Jr. | Ward F. McDonough, Jr.
    Likely their estate. The first thing that has to be paid on death is taxes and debts. If you were a co-signator on their debts you could be fully responsible for full payment.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/20/2012
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Charles E. Clos
    A child is not liable for the debts of its parents after they are deceased. However, if a probate estate is opened the creditor may file a claim against the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/20/2012
    Lisa L. Hogreve, LC | Lisa L. Hogreve
    The decedent's estate is responsible, if the claims are made timely according to law. The survivors are not responsible, unless they agreed in writing to be responsible for the debts. The decedent's home, and the property it sits on, may be exempt from claims of creditors as homestead property. If not, the creditors that make timely claims against the estate may try to get payment through that property, or other estate assets. You may need to hire an attorney to have the property declared homestead and divided between the proper heirs free from creditors claims.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/20/2012
    Horn & Johnsen SC
    Horn & Johnsen SC | Dera L. Johnsen-Tracy
    Children are not personally responsible for their parents' debts. Your parent's estate will be held responsible for his or her debts and, if there are any assets left over after all debts and expenses have been paid, the heirs of his or her estate will receive the remaining amount according to the laws of intestate distribution of the state in which he or she resided at the time of his or her death. If there are insufficient liquid assets within the estate to pay all debts and expenses, then the real estate will need to be liquidated in order to pay such debts and expenses. In most situations in which the decedent owned real estate, a probate proceeding will be necessary.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/20/2012
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
    In Florida, the medical bills of the decedent are the responsibility of the estate (unless the individual agreed in writing to be liable for the decedent's bills). If there is no estate, the creditors are out of luck. The homestead in Florida is exempt from creditors meaning creditors cannot force the family to sell the property to pay their claims.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Martinson & Beason, PC
    Martinson & Beason, PC | Douglas C Martinson II
    The children are not liable for the medical or other bills of a parent unless they signed to be responsible for them. The bills would be a debt of the estate, which would include the house and any bank accounts. Before any of those bills are paid, whoever paid for the funeral would be reimbursed for those expenses, the cost of administering the estate (including an Administrator's Commission) would be paid. The house may need to be sold to pay for the funeral and any bills. A child of the estate could purchase the home from the estate and the money could be used to pay for the funeral and any other expenses. To divide the house and land, you will need to file for an estate administration. Since there was no will, the next of kin (spouse, child, etc.) who lives in Alabama can file to be the Administrator. That is the only way to pass title to the house to anyone. The house will be subject to any creditors' claims. You should consult a Probate attorney in your county (or nearby county) as soon as possible to get that started.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    THE HUBBARD LAW FIRM, P.C.
    THE HUBBARD LAW FIRM, P.C. | Donald B. Lawrence, Jr.
    The debts of the parent are claims against the parent's estate only unless they are voluntarily assumed by a child. That means that if the assets are not worth as much as the claims, there may be nothing left for the heirs. The heirs can see what those claims may be publishing a notice to file claims against the estate. If the creditors fail to do so within four months of the publication, the unfiled creditors' claims will be barred. You will likely need some help on this and you will want to consult with an attorney familiar with the probate process. Details and context often affect the validity and usefulness of an answer that is based on a general statement of the law. You will need to consult directly with an attorney and provide additional information in order to get the best answer. You may contact me to provide further information and to follow up on the question(s) and my answer(s). At that time an attorney client relationship will have to be formally established.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Olson Law Firm | Edward M Olson
    The "estate" of the deceased person is liable for the bills. In other words, all property that was owned by the deceased (including the home and other property). Since the children of the deceased also want the same assets, you must, as a practical matter, negotiate and come to a settlement with the creditors.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Law Office of Robert J. Slotkin | Robert J. Slotkin
    No, you aren't responsible. However, if there is an estate, then all creditors get to file a claim against the estate, and they have to be paid before beneficiaries get their bequests. This assumes of course that the bills are legit. The medical provider has to submit their bills to any available insurance or Medicare before they can file an estate clam.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    The children of a deceased parent are not responsible for the parents' bills. In probate the court will appoint someone to be the personal representative of the deceased's estate, with duties to use the assets of the estate to pay bills and then distribute any remaining assists to heirs. If there are not enough assets then whatever is available would be divided among the creditors.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
    The estate is responsible for the medical bills. Unsure if house has any name on it other than deceased. If not,.proper paperwork must be filed with court to attain property. Creditors may demand money. If the estate has none, children not responsible unless any one signed an agreement with medical providers stating they would be responsible party.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    If no one has guaranteed the payment, the estate of the deceased is responsible for the debt. If the estate has no money or assets, then the debt is not collectible.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    To answer your question, no the children are not responsible. Your parents' estate is responsible. Is the home and property worth more than $150,000? If yes, you will need to file for probate, sell the property, pay off the creditors and then distribute any monies remaining to the intestate heirs. If it less than $150,000, you will need to file for Small Estate Probate, sell the property, pay off the creditors and then distribute any remaining monies to the intestate heir by right of succession. You have a complicated estate, even if small, and the best advice I can provide is that you should contact a local probate attorney and request a consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Law Office of Matt Potempa, PLLC
    Law Office of Matt Potempa, PLLC | Matt Potempa
    No, children are not responsible for a deceased parent's medical bills unless they have signed an agreement to the contrary.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    No, the Estate of the Deceased is responsible for the medical bills. An inventory of the Estate is required that identifies all assets and all debits. If the Estate is insolvent, e.g., more debits than assets, a Court Order may be obtained designating so. Proper Notice to creditors must be given before the schedule Insolvency Hearing.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    The Law Office of Eric J Smith
    The Law Office of Eric J Smith | Eric Smith
    The children are not responsible, unless there was some billing agreement with them in place prior to death. Medicaid can and usually will put a lien on the decedent's home, and the medical care providers could open a probate proceeding (they have 4 years from the date of death to do so) and attempt to attach a judgment to the home or other estate assets. If the estate is as modest as you describe, however, they will probably just write off the medical bills of last illness.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Coulter's Law
    Coulter's Law | Coulter K. Richardson
    The estate is responsible.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Gordon F. Gault PC | Gordon F Gault
    The estate of the deceased parent is responsible for the medical bills. If the estate has no value do not open a probate estate and the claimant will probably not bother to open an estate. The property will automatically transfer by the laws of intestacy. You need an attorney to help you with this.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Glojek Ltd | Joseph E. Redding
    The parent's estate is responsible. If there is no will, then the property goes by intestate succession (Chapter 852 of the Wisconsin Statutes). Everything goes to spouse. If no spouse, to children. IF there is a home in the parent's name only, and its value is over $50,000, an estate must be opened in the county of the last residence of the deceased.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Broad Law Firm, LLC
    Broad Law Firm, LLC | Donald K. Broad
    The children themselves are not generally responsible, unless they signed something agreeing to be responsible for payment. However, the medical bills will need to be paid from the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Law Offices of Pamela R. Lawson | Pamela R. Lawson, Esq.
    The deceased's Estate is responsible for the medical bills. If the decedent had insurance, the claims should be submitted to the insurance company by whomever represents the deceased.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Grant Morris Dodds | Mark Dodds
    When a person dies, only that person's estate is responsible for debts, including medical bills. The estate generally includes any assets in the name of the decedent and any assets in a trust which the decedent had the power to revoke. In the case described, the children are not responsible for the medical bills. The creditors, such as the doctor and hospital, can make a claim on the estate within 90 days of death and that claim must be satisfied before the estate can be distributed; however, the claim can only be satisfied from the estate assets, in this case the home and the land. If the children think the home and land are worth it, they can sell the home and land, pay off the medical bills and keep the difference. If the children think it is unlikely the proceeds from the sale of the home will be enough to cover the debts, then the children can choose to walk away from the home and the debts and let the creditors open a probate to get something from the sale of the home and land. If the children decide to open a probate and sell the home and land, if the proceeds from the sale are not sufficient to pay the debts, the children will still not be responsible to pay the difference.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Heltenberg Law
    Heltenberg Law | Jodi R. Heltenberg
    The decedent's estate is responsible for paying the medical bills of the decedent. If the estate is insolvent (i.e., there are not sufficient assets in the estate to pay the claims against the estate), you will need to determine which creditors will get paid in full, which creditors will receive only a partial payment, and which creditors will get nothing in accordance with applicable CO law which sets priority for claims against the estate. Unless you or your siblings signed a personal guarantee with the medical provider who provided services to your parent, you will not be personally liable for the medical bills.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    No the children are not responsible for the debts- the estate is. If it is not handled properly however, it is possible that the kids could end up being liable for the bills. With no will and real property (the house and land)you should get an attorney to assist with this situation- it can be a bit complicated with what is called "Intestate succession", and you will need to open a probate through the court to make sure things are handled properly and that someone- one of the children has legal authority to take care of the debts and the property.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Harville-Stein Law Offices, LLC
    Harville-Stein Law Offices, LLC | Dean D. Stein
    You are not responsible for the bills, including medical bills, of your parents, unless you accept that responsibility. That is, if you signed as "guarantor" or "co-signor" on some obligation of theirs. However, their estate may well be responsible, and real property, such as a house or land, can be "clawed" back into the estate, to satisfy any properly filed and uncontested claims.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Assuming that no one other than your deceased parent has agreed to guarantee payment of the parent's medical bills, the parent's estate is responsible for payment. Insurance or Medicare may pay for some of these expenses. The deceased real and personal property is usually sold to cover as much of the remaining debt as possible. If there is a surviving spouse, he or she may be entitled to a percentage or a flat dollar amount first and then the remainder is distributed to the creditors.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston | Edwin Fee
    The children would not be responsible for paying the medical bills, unless the children previously had signed an agreement to be responsible for the bills. The parent's estate would be responsible for paying the parent's valid debts. If the home was only in the parent's name, then the home could not be transferred to the children until valid debts are paid.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Davis-Yancey Law & Life Coaching, PLLC
    Davis-Yancey Law & Life Coaching, PLLC | Gwendolyn Davis-Yancey
    Many creditors will personally contact surviving spouses and/or other family members in an attempt to collect debts of decedents. However, NO ONE is financially responsible for any debts except the person who has signed to be responsible for that debt. Therefore, family members are not responsible for the medical bills of any person who dies, whether they are related or not, unless that person signed to be financially responsible. If there is a probate Estate case opened, then all debtors can file a claim against the Estate, which are the assets of the decedents.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    Generally it is the assets of the parents that are used to pay medical bills.. as long as a child has not guaranteed payment they should not be held liable. The assets include the net equity in the house and property (well that depends on who owns it), etc... .after adminstrative expenses of the estate.. which include but are not limited to burial costs.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Law Offices of F. Richard Ricketts, PLLC
    Law Offices of F. Richard Ricketts, PLLC | F. Richard Ricketts
    Medical bills for a parent who dies become the responsibility of the estate of the deceased.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If there is real property, there will have to be a probate to transfer that property; the medical bills will be claims against that probate estate.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Shutt Law Firm, PLLC
    Shutt Law Firm, PLLC | Isaac Shutt
    The children of deceased parents are almost never liable for the deceased parents' medical bills. To divide the property, the kids need to hire an attorney to go to probate court. The property isn't automatically divided-the children must take action to get the property transferred to them. Contact a local probate attorney to see if the lawyer will provide a free consultation for your case.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    James T. Dunn PC | James T. Dunn
    Under Utah law the estate of the deceased is responsible. If the heirs take real or personal property without paying the bills, they can be sued by creditors for the disbursement made without paying creditors.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    DOUGLAS A. TULL, P.C.
    DOUGLAS A. TULL, P.C. | Douglas A. Tull
    Two part question, really. Who is responsible? The personal representative of the estate - to pay from the assets of the estate, if sufficient. The property in the estate has to go to pay debts. So real property likely would have to be sold (assuming equity exists) and the proceeds used to pay debts - including funeral and burial - before any of it could be distributed to children. Children are not personally responsible for medical (or other debts) of their parents unless they have agreed to become responsible for them. For medical bills, that would be unlikely. For other debts, it is possible, for example, that if a child used a parent's credit card to buy something for the parent before death - or to pay for funeral bill, then that child may have inadvertently agreed to be bound by the terms of the credit card contract and may have agreed to be responsible for that debt.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Blackledge Law Firm, PA | Joel Blackledge
    In Mississippi, unless the child has taken some action to assume the debt, the child is not responsible for the debts of the parent. The parent's estate would stand responsible for the debts, to the extent there are nonexempt assets.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    Generally, the children are not responsible for their deceased parent's medical bills. However, the assets of the estate are liable for the decedent's debts, including any Medi-cal lien resulting from their medical care.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Law Offices of Robert H. Glorch | Jeffrey R. Gottlieb
    The parent's estate, if solvent, is responsible. Someone should assess what to do with the parent's property and assets and from there determine how to pay parent's bills. If the estate is unable to satisfy bills, then the children are not personally responsible.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Gregory T. Taylor, ESQ
    Gregory T. Taylor, ESQ | Gregory Taylor
    No, children are not responsible for their parents' medical bills. The only assets that may be used to pay creditor claims are the assets of the estate that were owned by the decedent. Just because you stand to inherit if there is a surplus doesn't mean that you are on the hook to pay if the estate is insolvent.
    Answer Applies to: Kentucky
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    The deceased parent's estate would be responsible for the medical bills. If the house is distributed to the children they could be responsible for the medical expenses. The only way to transfer title would be through an intestate probate procedure which would require disclosure of the deceased parent's debts.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    The estate of the parent is responsible. This means that any property belonging to the parent at death would be available to the creditor(s) before any distribution is made to heirs. The children are not responsible for the bills personally unless they made an agreement to be responsible.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Generally the parent, or their estate is liable, not their children. You should consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    The estate of the deceased is responible for medical bills, and the estate has to be probated.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Hutchins Law, P.C.
    Hutchins Law, P.C. | Aaron Hutchins
    The estate of the deceased is responsible If there is a claim made on the estate for those bills within one year of death. If the estate has no money to pay the bills, then the bills will go unpaid.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Law Offices of Tobie B. Waxman
    Law Offices of Tobie B. Waxman | Tobie B. Waxman
    In the absence of a Will the estate will go through probate. Creditors must file claims against the estate to get paid. Surviving children do not have to pay the bills, however, the bills may be deducted from the estate before any distributions are made to the beneficiaries of the estate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    The Law Offices of Tres A. Porter | Tres A. Porter
    Typically the bills of a person who has died (decedent) are paid from their estate. If they have a spouse who survived them, the medical providers typically approach the spouse. If there is no will and no surviving spouse, usually in order to transfer property to the heirs (children or others), the estate usually must go through probate, which is a process that requires sending the creditors notice of the decedent's passing and allowing them an opportunity to file a claim against the estate for what they are owed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/19/2012
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