Am I responsible for my late mother’s debts?

My mother died last year after being in a nursing home for 4 years. Medicaid helped pay for her care, so when we sold her home, Medicaid received all the profit. Now a company, that I have never heard of, wants to know who pays her bills. there is o money and no probate was filed it wasn’t. Should I answer their letter? I have closed out her accounts.

Asked on May 2, 2017 under Estate Planning, Alabama


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If there was no money left in your mother's estate to pay off her debts, then they will be written off by her creditors. As an heir, you are not responsible for them, as long as you did not co-sign or guarantee for any of the debt. You can either notify her creditors of this and send them a copy of her death certificate or just ignore them. You are under no financial obligation to them. Note: The only time a child may possibly be held responsible for a parental debt is under the doctrine of something called "filial responsibility". Many states with these laws, require adult children to care for their parents financially. However when enforced (and they rarely are) it is only for reimbursement to Medicaid for nursing home expenses. However, you said that you paid off Medicaid.Read more: Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Follow us: @FreeAdviceNews on Twitter | freeadvice on Facebook

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