If my father passed away 6 months ago, am I responsible for paying his bills?

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If my father passed away 6 months ago, am I responsible for paying his bills?

I’m now getting all his unpaid bills. I’ve sent copies of his death certificate to all of them numerous times but am still getting the delinquent notices. I don’t want to get sued for his debts which are mostly just utilities, etc. His house is in foreclosure but I don’t want it anyway (it’s not worth what is owed).

Asked on May 30, 2015 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unless you are legally obligated to pay these bills (e.g. you were a co-signer on a loan or the like), you probably bear no responsibility for paying your father's expenses. The fact is that a child is typically not financially responsible for the debts of their parents, deceased or living. At this point, you can ignore any collection efforts unless a lawsuit�should brought against you, in which event you should appear in order to explain things to the court.

That having been said, if property was transferred by a parent to their child with the intent of defrauding a parent's creditors, then the child may be held liable for the debt (but only up to the value of the property given to them). Also, under "filail responsibility" laws, on rare occassions a child may be held liable for the repayment of a parent's medical debt (however there are restictions on this liability).

At this point, you should consult directly with an attorney as to the specific details of your situation.


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