Can a child be held liable for a deceased parent’s bills?

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Can a child be held liable for a deceased parent’s bills?

My mom died and owed on her credit cards and other bills. Do I have to pay them?

Asked on October 20, 2018 under Estate Planning, Idaho

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, you are not liable for any of your mother's bills or other debts. That is unless you personally co-signed for them or otherwise guaranteed their payment. That having been said, there is an exception. The only time that a child may possibly be held responsible for a parental debt is under something called "the doctrine of filial responsibility". Some states require adult children to care for their parents financially. However, even when enforced (and they rarely are), it is only for reimbursement to Medicaid for nursing home expenses.


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