Can an ex-wife be made to sell a co-owned house to pay medical bills of her deceased ex-husband?

My ex-husband and I own a house together in JT Ten that we left that way when we divorced. He has passed away owing $50,000 in medical bills. Besides the house he had no other assets except for a few cars. Can they take the house or force me to sell it to pay this bill?

Asked on July 2, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Virginia


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the home thay you are writing about was in joint tenancy with the rights of survivorship between you and your now deceased ex-husband, then by operation of law you now own the home in its entirety and it is not part of your former husband's estate.

As such, creditors of your ex husband will have a very difficult time being able to lien the home that you now have to satisfy unpaid medical bills. I suggest that you have a probate or an administration of your former husband's estate established through an experienced Wills and trust attorney to start the time period for creditor's claims running and see who makes a claim to the estate.

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