Am I responsible for my late mother’s medical debt?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Am I responsible for my late mother’s medical debt?

My mom passed away 3 months ago. She left an acre of land and that was about it. Also, life insurance that was left to my brother and I. Are we responsible for her medical debt? If we don’t pay what would be the repercussions?

Asked on March 15, 2016 under Estate Planning, Kentucky


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

First of all, life insurance proceeds are paid outside of a probate estate. This means that the listed beneficiaries are entitled to the proceeds outright; no creditor claims can be made against them. As for the land, it must be sold to satisfy her medical (and any other) debts. If there is an excess left over the creditors have been paid, then it will go to her beneficiaries/heirs. If there is not enough money to pay off all of her debts, then what remains unpaid will just be written off; the beneficaries/heirs will not be financially responsible for them.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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