If my father-in-law died last year and his wife died about 3 months later, would her estate be respnsible for his medical debt?

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If my father-in-law died last year and his wife died about 3 months later, would her estate be respnsible for his medical debt?

We settled his estate a couple of months ago and no creditors asked for money(he had very little). Now her estate attorney is saying that he will have to hold money aside to pay my father-in-law’s medical debt.

Asked on June 5, 2013 under Estate Planning, Kentucky

Answers:

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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It depends. Absent living in a community property state, unless a survivng spouse agreed to be liable for such bills (i.e. signed a contract or note, etc), they are not responsible for their deceased spouse's debts. However, some states make an exception to this rule regarding "necessary" debts incurred for the benefit of the household (and medical debts are included).  You will need to confirm if this is the case with her estate attorney.  Yet, even if it is, health care and medical providers have a specified period of time in which to bring a claim for bills against an estate. For example, some states require that these claims must be filed within 120 days of the commencement of the estate case in court. Again, confirm all of this with the estate lawyer or possibly go to another probate attorney for confirmation.


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