Debt responsibility

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Debt responsibility

My son lives in California and his husband died, is he
responsible for his husbands medical bills??

Asked on April 8, 2018 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

In community property states, a spouse is responsible for the debts of the other spouse, including debts that remain after death. This means that a surviving husband/wife is responsible for paying back the bills of their deceased spouse.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a spouse is responsible for his spouse's medical bills. The law does not make one spouse responsible for another spouse's purely discretionary bills (e.g. if spouse 1 had a a credit card in his name only and uses it for restaurants and jewlery, spouse 2 is not responsible for that debt). However, spouses are expected to take care of each other and provide for necessary expenses, like medical, and the law does not want one spouse foisting off his spouse's medical care onto the others. Therefore, the law does hold spouse 1 liable for spouse 2's medical care and medical bills.


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