Am I responsible for my late mother’s bills?

Asked on July 17, 2015 under Bankruptcy Law, Texas


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, children don't inherit their parents' debts. However, there are at least 2 situations in which they might be required to pay for their bills.

The first is if there was a transfer of assets from parent to child for the purpose of defeating the claims of creditors. The second situation has to do with something called "filial responsibility". This concept dates back several hundred years to times when a child was legally obligated to assist their parent financially if the parent was unable to pay for their own care. Today, about 30 states versions of have such laws. This responsibility typically arises when a child is required to reimburse for medical or nursing home expenses indurred by their parent.

Since these laws vary from jurisdiction-to-jurisdiction, you should contact a local attorney and consult with them regarding specific state law.

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