Can a hospital and doctors take a deceased patient’s assets to pay off medical bills?

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Can a hospital and doctors take a deceased patient’s assets to pay off medical bills?

My mom passed without a Will and had 4 sons. By law, I believe the assets automatically go to children because she was divorced. However, she had significant medical bills. Can the hospital and doctors take her assets, specifically her house, so and then her sons wouldn’t get the house and we would have to move?

Asked on July 27, 2016 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

In the administration of an estate, a personal representaive (who acts like an execitor when there is no Will), must first pay off all debts of the estate before any remaining assets can be distributed to the heirs. This would include liqudating assets to the extent necessary to pay off medical bills incurred by the deceased prior to death.


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