Is my mother responsible for my late father’s medical bills?

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Is my mother responsible for my late father’s medical bills?

My father has no estate. There is a mortgage that was in both my parents’ names and 1 of my siblings names, which I understand is now solely my mother and sibling’s property. My father was in the hospital and passed away on the 10th day. We signed off on consent for surgery and miscellaneous items to be taken care of as my father was unconsious the entire time he was hospitalized and could not give his consent. Is my mother now responsible for any medical bills not covered under medicare and his supplemental insurance?

Asked on August 19, 2016 under Estate Planning, Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unlike some other states, in MD, a surviving spouse is not responsible for paying for any debts or expenses that were their spouse's alone, such as medical bills (unless the survivor agreed to be held responsible). If all of the property the deceased spouse owned at the time of death was owned jointly with the surviving spouse with the "right of survivorship", it is solely the surviving spouse's property and not subject to claims of the deceased's creditors. That having been said, if the deceased spouse owned assets or property that was not jointly owned with the right of survivorship, that property would be in their estate and subject to creditor claims.


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