If my husband died at the hospital, am I responsible for his bill?

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If my husband died at the hospital, am I responsible for his bill?

He died in TN; I’m a FL resident.

Asked on June 23, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Maybe yes and maybe no.  Generally speaking the estate of the decedent is responsible for his debts.  However, there is something known s the doctrine of necessities under the law and you should check with an attorney in your area to see if it is recognized.  Here is the law:

To prevail under the theory of the doctrine of necessaries: the provider of the necessary services or goods must show: that (1) services or goods were provided to the spouse; (2) the services or goods were necessary for the health and well-being of the receiving spouse; (3) the person against whom the action is brought was married to the person to whom the necessary services or goods were provided at the time such services were provided; and (4) the payment for the necessaries has not been made.

There is an exception to the doctrine of necessities for separated spouses. However, merely being separated is not enough. In order for a spouse to take advantage of the separation exception, he/she must show that the provider of the necessary services or goods, e.g. the hospital, had actual notice of the parties’ separation at the time the services were rendered or the goods supplied.
Good luck.


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