Am I liable to pay for my deceased wife’s medical bills?

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Am I liable to pay for my deceased wife’s medical bills?

She left a small amount of money in her estate and it is being used to pay for her funeral and outstanding taxes. However, there is a hospital bill is for a hospital. Before her death, my wife spoke to the hospital and told them that they did not bill the correct insurer as she had 2 insurance policies. They said that they would investigate but they never got back to us. Also,I spoke to the billing department and told them that she is now deceased (I sent them a copy of the death certificate). Now a lawyer wants me to pay the bill. There is not enough money from my wife’s estate to pay any money. I am disabled and I am on social security and unemployed. In addition.

Asked on June 18, 2016 under Estate Planning, New Hampshire

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

My research suggests NH, unlike most other states, still follows the common law "doctrine of necessaries". Basially, this means that one spouse can be held liable for the medical bills, etc. of their deceased spouse on the theory that they were incurred as a necessary expense of the household. Accordingly, you should try and sort our your late wife's insurance situaton. You would be well advised to consult directly with a local attorney for help if necessary. They can best advise you further.


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