Am I responsible for my deceased husbands medical bills.

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Am I responsible for my deceased husbands medical bills.

I live in Missouri. He did not have a will and did not have enough assets to file probate.

Asked on July 20, 2018 under Estate Planning, Missouri

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, one spouse is not responsible for the debts of the other, unless they specifically agreed to be. However, there exists something in the law known as the "Doctrine of Necessities". In some states, and my research indicates that MO is one such state, debts incurred for medical treatment are generally considered "necessities". Accordingly, while a deceased spouse's estate is primarily liable for medical bills, if the deceased spouse maintained no separate assets, then the doctrine of necessities applies. Accordingly, a surviving spouse may be held liable for necessary medical services provided to the other spouse.At this point, you should consult directly with a local probate attorney to be certain of your rights/responsibilities.

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, one spouse is not responsible for the debts of the other, unless they specifically agreed to be. However, there exists something in the law known as the "Doctrine of Necessities". In some states, and my research indicates that MO is one such state, debts incurred for medical treatment are generally considered "necessities". Accordingly, while a deceased spouse's estate is primarily liable for medical bills, if the deceased spouse maintained no separate assets, then the doctrine of necessities applies. Accordingly, a surviving spouse may be held liable for necessary medical services provided to the other spouse.At this point, you should consult directly with a local probate attorney to be certain of your rights/responsibilities.


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