Do I need to pay my late mother’s doctor?

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Do I need to pay my late mother’s doctor?

My mom passed away a little over a year ago. Her health insurance company sent me a check for 7K. I took the money not knowing what it was for and invested it. I was contacted by her Dr that performed her surgery and he stated that the check was to go to him. He stated that the bill was almost 90k and that I need to send him that 7k and he will forgive the other debt. My first question is do I need to pay her debt? Also do I need to give him the 7k or is he trying to milk me? If I don’t give him the money does he have legal action?

Asked on July 19, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  I am assuming here that you were or are the executor of your Mother's estate, correct? And that you invested the money pursuant to your powers as the fiduciary of the estate, correct?  Well you as the fiduciary have not only the power to invest but the duty to pay the debt of the estate. Did you have notice of the debt?  Did you do a notice of any sort to creditors or potential creditors of the estate? Giving notice sets up a time frame and starts a clock ticking so to speak for creditors to make a claim. If they do not then they are precluded.  It differs from state to state.  You really need to get legal help with all of this now.  Fiduciaries can be held personally liable.  Good luck.  


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